News Brackenridge Hospital Opens New Intensive Care Unit

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AUSTIN, Texas - (January 24, 2006) - To help meet and stay ahead of the growing demand for critical care services in Central Texas, representatives with the SETON Family of Hospitals today announced the opening of new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Brackenridge Hospital.

Last year, the ICU operated, on average, at 109% capacity. This addition increases capacity by 70% and represents the first time the ICU has been expanded in more than 20 years. The project is expected to meet estimated demand for the next 10 - 15 years.

"Our greatest challenge has been to effectively and efficiently manage the increasing volume while continuing to assure the highest quality of patient care, patient safety and patient satisfaction," says Bruce Broslat, VP & COO, Brackenridge Hospital. "This expansion allows us to move patients that need critical care services more efficiently to the optimal level of care dictated by the seriousness of their condition, placing the patient in the right level of care at the right time."

The 14-bed medical ICU is located on the sixth floor of the hospital and will principally serve medical cardiac patients, complex multi-system failure patients, spinal cord injury patients, non-trauma acute pulmonary patients and stroke patients. The ability to have stroke patients cared for on the sixth floor is especially important given Brackenridge's designation as a Stroke Center in November 2004, the first hospital in the State of Texas to receive such a designation.

The expansion includes a lot of natural light and openness along with state-of-the-art patient equipment. Each of the rooms will comes equipped with three zones-one for the patient, one for the nurse and one for the family. The patient zone features hydraulic patient lift equipment and a flat-screen monitor with the latest software. The family zone includes internet access and a movable recliner that can be made into a bed-allowing a family member to stay with the patient 24/7. The nurse zone has a desk with a computer, an area for patient charting and supplies.

The expansion has an open and airy waiting room as well as a "public zone" with a general desk area allowing healthcare team members to confer and view test results via the state-of-the-art Picture Archiving Communications Systems (PACS). Even X-rays can be developed right on the floor.

"The new ICU beds supplement the existing 20 bed ICU located on the first floor and allows that unit to focus on surgical trauma patients," says Betty Thornell, Director of Critical Care, Brackenridge Hospital. "Ultimately, we believe this expansion will improve patient and physician satisfaction for not only the ICU, but also emergency and trauma services."

As the only Level II Trauma Center in Central Texas, serving an 11-county region, Brackenridge continues to provide even more complex care to patients. In fact, it is currently the busiest Level II Trauma Center in the state. To help meet this growing demand, there are plans to renovate the Trauma "Crash" area and expand the number of Emergency Department beds over the next two years.

"The safest place for a patient that needs critical care is in the intensive care unit. Through this expansion, we can now get patients taken care of in an appropriate setting and expand our trauma and emergency department operations," says Pat Crocker, D.O., Chief of Emergency Operations, Brackenridge Hospital and Children's Hospital of Austin.

The total cost for the new Brackenridge ICU was $4.8 million, $3.2 million of it funded by SETON and the remaining $1.6 million funded by the Travis County Hospital District.

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