A Belated Valentine to the Nations Capital Our New Heart amp Vascular Hospital Opens

A Belated Valentine to the Nations Capital Our New Heart amp Vascular Hospital Opens

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More than 300 donors, former patients, healthcare staff, elected officials, and guests gathered at MedStar Washington Hospital Center on June 16 to witness the dedication of the Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital, the first dedicated cardiovascular hospital located in the greater Washington, D.C., area. The occasion marked the end of years of planning, design and construction, as well as the beginning of a new era of tightly coordinated, centralized specialty care for the most complex cardiovascular cases in the region.

“This is an extraordinary milestone for our patients,” said Stuart F. Seides, MD, physician executive director of MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. “Every aspect of the new hospital was designed with patients’ comfort, convenience and safety in mind as we worked to create an environment conducive to healing.”

About the Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital

The new four-story, 160,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility unites virtually the entire heart and vascular healthcare delivery staff—cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, nurse practitioners, cardiac care nurses, and other specialized caregivers—into one cohesive team in one location, for more effective, streamlined care.

“Previously, patients with heart problems could have received care on one of 10 different nursing units,” says Allen J. Taylor, MD, FACC, FAHA, chief of Cardiology at both MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “This new configuration eliminates variability in care, while fostering communication and collaboration among team members.”

Adds Nancy Bruce, RN, BSN, MBA, assistant vice president for Nursing, “It also makes it possible for us to ensure that the patient/family experience is seamless, and care is coordinated every step of the way.”

From admission to discharge, all aspects of the new hospital-within-a-hospital help promote that goal. Patients are now housed according to condition, treatment and acuity of care, leading to increased proficiency and teamwork for staff members accustomed to caring for patients with diverse heart and vascular diagnoses. Patient floors feature their own echocardiography, X-ray and other non-invasive services for faster, more convenient examinations and evaluations. Stress testing is done on the first floor of the new space. The majority of the 164 patient rooms are also private, furnished with couches and other amenities, to increase the comfort and satisfaction levels of patients and their families.

An Expanded Cardiac Critical Care Unit

July found the opening of the last phase of the project, an expanded 44-bed cardiac critical care unit (CVICU) that combines the functions of the previous three units into one: recovery room, coronary care unit and cardiovascular surgery ICU. A unique feature is a central boom suspended from the ceiling, for medical gasses, electrical and data outlets. By doing away with the old wall mounts, the design gives staff unfettered 360-degree patient access.

“The new, cutting-edge ICU will allow surgeons, intensive care physicians, nurses, and mid-level practitioners to constantly improve care, comfort and efficiency for the sickest patients in the region,” says Paul Corso, MD, chairman, Cardiac Surgery. “The unit is structured for ever-expanding, high-tech monitoring and communication among caregivers, patients and families. Cardiovascular surgery will continue to innovate and add new procedures because of the capabilities of the new ICU. The new Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital is the culmination of a dream for cardiovascular care in the mid-Atlantic region.”

Turning a Dream Into Reality

MedStar Washington Hospital Center is one of the busiest cardiac surgical centers in the United States and is nationally recognized for excellence in cardiovascular care. MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, founded at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, is engaged in a clinical and research alliance with the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute to improve patient outcomes and operational excellence.   

With the opening of the dedicated heart and vascular hospital, the patient and family experience now matches the hospital’s reputation for outstanding clinical expertise. Thanks go to Nancy and Harold Zirkin and their $10 million leadership gift. “When Nancy and I learned about the vision of MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute and its important alliance with Cleveland Clinic,” Mr. Zirkin says, “we saw this as an ideal opportunity to bring together our strong interest in better health with the region’s need for world-class heart care. We’re thrilled we were able to help make MVHI’s dream a reality.”

Dr. Seides concludes, “We’ve always been blessed with some of the most talented and dedicated physicians and nurses in the country. Now we are providing them with an environment that allows that teamwork to flourish--and ultimately allows us to provide the best possible patient care.”

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