Eastern State Hospital's exterior
On Sept. 10, it took roughly three hours for Eastern State Hospital to jump two centuries forward.
At least that’s how it felt for the staff and administration who moved patients from the hospital’s former location at Newtown Pike and Fourth Street, in buildings dating back to the 1820s, to the newly constructed $129 million facility at Coldstream Research Campus.
The 300,000-square-foot, LEED-certified facility, which had been under construction since late 2010, provides a clean and modern design, with plentiful windows inviting natural light and views of Coldstream’s open, rolling landscape. The 239-bed hospital, which offers inpatient psychiatric treatment, has roughly 400 employees and features a gymnasium, a teaching kitchen and music and art therapy spaces to aid in patient recovery. A wide concourse with tall ceilings curves around the facility’s new Recovery Mall, which features a resource library, retail space, beauty shop and cafeteria for staff and visitors, with indoor and outdoor seating. The main corridor connects three three-story patient care towers, named Allen, Gragg and Wendell after the buildings at the hospital’s original site.
According to Eastern State’s interim chief administrative officer John Phillips, the transition has been smooth, and the new structure has quickly become an integral tool for accomplishing the hospital’s mission.
“The built environment of a hospital really plays a big role in the care that you deliver,” Phillips said. “The state did an excellent job with the design, creating an environment that promotes recovery in a less restrictive environment for our patients.”
The hospital is managed by UK HealthCare under a $32 million contract with the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The new Coldstream site is also home to the Central Kentucky Recovery Center, which includes four 16-bed personal care homes, two of which are currently in use. The personal care homes, which offer less restrictive care to enable a gradual transition back to the community for individuals, are also managed by UK, although they are separately licensed.
In addition to a more modern and comfortable atmosphere, the move has enabled the hospital to update its security systems and technology, Phillips said. One example is the hospital’s PYXIS automated medication dispensing system, which is designed to improve efficiency and reduce the risk of medication errors. The technology is relatively common for the medical industry, Phillips said, but it is another tool made available to the hospital by the more modern facility.
And in addition to improving the services that it already provides to Fayette and 49 surrounding counties, Eastern State is also preparing to expand its services with a new long-term care unit and an acquired brain injury unit, both scheduled to open in 2014.
The acquired brain injury unit will serve patients who have suffered brain injuries as the result of accidents or trauma and who also have a diagnosed Axis 1 mental disorder, such as schizophrenia.
Some Kentuckians who would meet the criteria for the new acquired brain injury unit are currently traveling out of state to access medical care, Phillips said.
“We are looking to fill a gap in service,” Phillips said. “From my understanding, there is no other service like this in the state of Kentucky.”
The new 27-bed, long-term care unit will serve as a psychiatric nursing home, treating a geriatric patient population with specialized psychiatric needs beyond conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia that traditional nursing homes can manage, Phillips said. Such patients are already served at Eastern, but the new facility will be licensed and designed to better suit their specific needs. Currently the state has two similar facilities – the Glasgow State Nursing Facility and the Western State Nursing Facility – both of which are larger than the unit planned for Eastern State.
The new partnership with UK has also opened new doors for collaboration and research at Eastern State Hospital, Phillips said.
“UK has been tremendous with helping us gain some economies of scale,” said Phillips, who worked in hospital operations at UK prior to being named as Eastern State’s interim CAO. “We’ve been able to utilize a lot of the infrastructure they have in place to streamline our operations here at Eastern.”
Services at Eastern State, such as in-house lab services, plant maintenance and security, are supported by UK, Phillips said, and the hospital is also in the process of building better relationships with UK Hospital’s emergency department and the university’s department of psychiatry. They are currently coordinating with the Markey Cancer Center to jointly hire a music therapist and an art therapist to serve both facilities.
“The great thing about this [hospital] being a part of the UK family is that we have the ability to really expand upon the different services and research opportunities, and many more will come in time,” Phillips said.
“The new Eastern State Hospital will improve psychiatric care in the entire region and is a facility all Kentuckians should be proud of,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “The magnificent facility along with expert patient care providers enable us to provide the highest level of care while enhancing education and research efforts in the prevention, early detection and treatment of mental health disorders.”
The facility’s improved parking and easy access to the interstate have made it more convenient for patients and their families, as well as for law enforcement officials traveling from across the state, Phillips said. The real value of the structure, however, comes through its ability to facilitate the hospital’s goal of getting patients back to where they can function in their own communities.
“It’s about being able to provide a lot of good tools to our staff,” Phillips said, “so they can provide good recovery care to our patients, get them rehabbed and hopefully get them back out into the community as quickly as we can.”
Eastern State Hospital interior photos