Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Inn At Cherry Hill -- Useful Recycling of Old Hospital Space

When I was a medical student at the University of Washington, we rotated through many of the hospitals in the Seattle area. I spent many months at Providence Medical Center, both in medical school and in residency..At the time, it was run by the Sisters of the Charity of Providence. Morning and evening prayers were broadcast over the PA system; there was a crucifix in every room.

Today, Providence has evolved into the "Cherry Hill Campus" of Swedish Medical Center. There's a Starbucks where the gift shop used to be, the chapel appears more "bland" -- even non-denominational, and the crucifixes are gone.

The fifth floor of the old hospital -- with its small private rooms and tiny bathrooms -- was retired from patient use some time ago. Today, it is "The Inn at Cherry Hill" -- with rooms rentable to families of patients at the medical center for a fee that isn't cheap ($70/night), but certainly beats any area hotel rate. The rooms are modest, but clean. Best of all, they are down the hall from your family member. The Inn features a communal washer and dryer, and hospital linen is provided.

For those of us who come a distance, it is a tremendous service. This week, for example, I've been attending a medical conference at the airport. But I still live on Bainbridge Island, and commute to Seattle for work -- and to spend time with Steve at Cherry Hill. Some nights, when there's been too little energy to go around, I've spent the night at the Inn.

I think every hospital should have sleeping rooms for patients' families. And if not full quarters, at least a "USO style" lounge with showers, recliners, desks, and phones. A place to wash up, and a place to calm down.

I applaud Swedish for using these old rooms for such a humane purpose. Undoubtedly, they wouldn't have met newer codes for patient care use. And remodeling would have been too expensive.

But someday, perhaps hospitals will be planned to include such areas for families! Someday, it will be recognized that it's simply the right thing to do.

Take care. Linda Gromko, MD

No comments:

Post a Comment