Jim Atwood, plumber, and Mike Hauser, electrician, at work in a patient room on EP 4-8. Plant Engineering in September launched an initiative to renovate all of the more than 200 patient rooms in the East Pavilion.

Anyone who has ever undertaken a home renovation project knows how complicated things can get.

Imagine doing the work in the middle of a busy hospital nursing unit, where you have to be extra careful with tools and materials, ensure dust and fumes don't escape the work area and minimize noise and disruption.

On Sept. 12, Plant Engineering launched an initiative to renovate all of the more than 200 patient rooms in the East Pavilion – completing three rooms at a time in three days.

"It's like renovating your kitchen and doing the entire thing in three days," said William Mahoney, executive director, Plant Engineering.

"While you're cooking," added Lewis Stanio, manager of distribution systems. Built in the early 1950s, the East Pavilion has undergone minor renovations over the years, but was due for a facelift, Mahoney said. While the work does not involve major renovations such as removing and rebuilding walls, the  extensive list of improvements includes:

  • Painting window trim and panels on the outside of the building
  • Replacing plumbing fixtures, heating and air-conditioning vents, window sills and shades, wardrobe closets, privacy curtains and over-bed and bedside tables
  • Repainting rooms, washing and waxing floors
  • Installing guards around rooms to prevent wall damage
  • Changing medical gas hardware so each bed has two oxygen outlets
  • Installing energy-efficient LED lights
  • Modifying bathrooms to accommodate bariatric patients

Some changes, such as installing new doors with quieter door handles, seem minor, but can make a difference to patients whose care providers visit their rooms throughout the night. Cleaning and re-glazing tiled walls and floors in bathrooms improves appearance and makes bathrooms easier to clean and keep clean.

Since some of the rooms have multiple beds, the project – expected to take over a year – will affect 304 patient beds. Michael Kiwanis, construction coordinator, Plant Engineering, is coordinating the project with Bed Management staff, who are working out bed assignments and discharges to make rooms available for renovations. Patient service managers have adjusted staff schedules to accommodate the project.

Despite this and other challenges associated with renovations, staff are enthusiastic about the project, he said.

"Our goal is to create a better environment for patients, but this also improves staff satisfaction."