The health care needs of our patients continue to evolve, and we need to continue to innovate how we care for them.

Implementing the lessons learned from SARS and COVID-19 is a focus of Renew Sinai – the largest and most ambitious redevelopment in the history of Mount Sinai Hospital – as it prepares to open its new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Emergency Department (ED).

Dr. David Dushenski, Chief, Department of Emergency Medicine reflects on changes to the design of the new Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Centre.

“Almost everything has changed as a result of COVID-19. The way we bring people into the ED, the way we register them, the way we screen them. Where they wait, how they move through the department. Every aspect has been touched by infection control considerations.”

A commitment to future-proofed spaces means design considerations are being re-examined. The Hospital is re-imagining patient and work flows, PPE, wayfinding and signage. It is re-considering how rooms are built, and has altered construction to meet new standards for emergency procedures such as resuscitations.

“One of the changes we’ve seen as a result of the pandemic has been the focus of how we keep patients safer throughout their stay,” adds Dr. Dushenski. “As we transition into our final state ED, we are looking at built-in precautions to support infection control. One segment of the department can even be isolated as a negative pressure zone if we face other pandemics or high-risk pathogens in the future. These will all support a fundamental change in the way we care for patients compared to pre-pandemic.”

Dr. Christie Lee, Interim Site Director and Education Coordinator, Critical Care Medicine points out adaptations for the new Kimel Schatzky Intensive Care Unit.  

“The design is extremely thoughtful. We designed the new ICU with lessons learned from SARS. When COVID-19 hit, we reviewed our processes again, and again.”  

The new future-proofed ICU will be pod-based, making it easier to expand. One of three pods will be negative pressure to support infection control, and feature larger rooms allowing more complicated procedures. Mock-ups tested functionality and simulations imitated caring for critically ill patients in the new space.

“Everything we are doing now is with a pandemic lens. From the selection of furniture and equipment to reduce transmission of infection, to adding more monitors and nurse terminals, to installing new windows to provide visibility to our patients. The intent is to better monitor and safeguard the patient,” notes Dr. Lee.

Renew Sinai is transforming our hospital to improve care for patients with cancer, undergoing life-saving surgery and requiring emergency care. Many of our most important facilities will be completely redesigned and rebuilt by the end of 2022.