BARRINGTON – A harsh winter has set back construction on the $247 million expansion and modernization of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, but officials think the time can be made up.
Since the overhaul started in October, the elevator shafts have risen on the north side of the existing hospital where a new building will house private patient rooms. Workers also have done some of the interior work that will update the 35-year-old hospital and realign services to create greater efficiencies.
The work will continue in those areas over the next several months, continuing to construct the north building and finishing the testing center and some administrative areas, said Allison Wyler, the executive sponsor of the modernization project.
Crews also will take advantage of the warmer weather to do some site work near the pond at the front of the hospital as well as other parts of the campus, she said.
“To the eye, you’re going to see a lot on that north side,” Wyler said. “Literally, over the next couple of months, you’ll see structure, and it goes quick.”
The hospital will be fully operational through the rest of the project, which will be completed in 2017, said Karen Lambert, the president of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital.
To ensure no services are affected, the hospital has been shuffling services and offices around, hospital spokeswoman Lisa O’Neil said.
The hospital also is providing free valet service to patients so they can avoid longer walks from the parking lots, Lambert said.
Once the renovation is complete, the hospital’s layout will be much more convenient for patients, Wyler said.
The plans are designed to bring like services closer together and integrate services better, bringing some from off-site and rearranging departments so patients don’t have to go from one end of the hospital to the other, she said. It also allows hospital staff to be more efficient.
The changes also reflect an increased emphasis on outpatient services, Lambert said.
When the expansion and modernization project was first being planned, 50 more beds were going to be added, but as health care changed and hospitals across the country focused on decreasing readmission rates – in part due to the Affordable Care Act – hospital officials no longer saw a need for the additional beds, she said.
The expansion includes seven more beds, increasing the count to 176, with all of the new beds in the intensive care unit.
The hospital also is making strides in its fundraising, Lambert said.
It has raised more than $19 million, about three-quarters of the way to its $25 million goal, she said. The Advocate Health Care System will cover the rest of the bill.
“The community has been very supportive of the project, and we’ve seen that in the philanthropic dollars and in terms of talking about it,” Lambert said. “The No. 1 thing people talk about is private rooms. There’s a lot of excitement about that.”
Hospital staff has been seeing a need for private rooms daily, she said. Every day, an average of eight to 15 beds go unused because patients can’t have roommates.
Private rooms also lead to decreased lengths of stay and minimize infection issues, Lambert said.