Arrival Experience completed at Hu Hu Kam Memorial Hospital
Aaron J. Tohtsoni
Gila River Indian News
Hu Hu Kam Memorial Hospital completed renovations and officially re-opened the main lobby on March 26 after a year of construction. The Arrival Experience project dates back to 2014 when the original plans to renovate started.
The renovations added 3,000 square feet including a much larger lobby, moving the transportation to the front of the hospital and relocating primary care right off the lobby.
“The intent of Gila River Health Care is to ensure quick access to quality care and that is what we were trying to achieve and add upon,” said Derrick Glum, Chief Operating Officer. “Our patients come first and that’s what drove the design with this facility and this space.”
According to Robert Ball, Director of Planning Design and Construction, the project started as a simple renovation of the lobby in 2014. However, after a patient-flow study was conducted in 2015 the hospital realized that their transportation department was not in an ideal location.
An additional 300 square feet was added to the main lobby and the transportation department was moved, adding more comfortable space to wait. Another addition to the renovated lobby was new, updated furniture for patients and their families.
Another important feature is the new roundabout which added space to provides a quick pick-up and drop-off access point and can accommodate more vehicles in line.
“I’m excited that we finally have the new lobby open after so many years to provide a beautiful entrance the Community deserves,” said Scott Gemberling, Chief Executive Officer. “We learned a great deal when we set up the temporary lobby including the use of patient flow studies and incorporated that into the design.”
Triage is available right in front of the lobby because the nursing station is now located in the lobby, another important new key. Having the nurses’ station upfront along with the new open floorplan, eyes are always able to be on patients as they wait.
Dr. Viji Murugavel said that having the nursing station in the lobby provides better monitoring from a clinical standpoint. Patient conditions can change rapidly, especially in pediatric care, having the nurses able to see that a patient’s condition changed gives staff the ability to address the patient’s needs.
She also likes the roomy feel of the new lobby, which is much more open and easy to maneuver around wheelchair.
Convenience was an integral part in design efforts. As soon as you enter the hospital, the customer service front desk is available to provide information and direction. The new design makes it a lot easier for elderly patients to move around the hospital, shortening walks down long hallways, which was the case with the temporary lobby.
The convenience for elders is something that longtime customer service employee Joyce Soto appreciates.
“We had been waiting for years,” said Soto. “All of the patients were excited and wondering when the front was going to open. The elderly are so excited because transportation is closer. I am so glad for them because some of them can barely walk. You can look outside and see the beautiful mountains, the atmosphere is so wonderful.”