Dubuque hospital touts new intensive care, cardiovascular units - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque hospital touts new intensive care, cardiovascular units

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

New, state-of-the-art intensive care and cardiovascular units at Mercy Medical Center will soon be welcoming patients.

Sunday afternoon, more than 800 visitors toured the new units. The project cost $13 million, with more than $3 million of that coming from local donors.

Bob Wethal is Mercy's director of critical care and cardiovascular services. He said communication technology was a top priority throughout the renovation.

"We're able to communicate -- general communication -- from a multitude of phrases in 29 different languages," Wethal said, pressing buttons on a device at the foot of one of the Intensive Care Unit's beds.

"Do you feel pain?" the device asked-- in Chinese.

Also, a new paging system, Wethal said, will help ensure faster response times.

"Oh, minutes are very important when you're in your critical care area," Sue Bettcher, a retired Mercy nurse touring the units, said. "It's very timely to be able to push a button, say what's needed and they can come right up."

The rooms are also bigger than they were in the old units.

"Couches in every room so families can stay with their loved one now," Wethal said. "Historically, especially in ICUs, we tended to limit the visitation time, but research really shows as you're family's with you, you get better faster."

Also part of the healing process is 43 pieces of artwork. Every single piece is from a local artist.

"This one's hope," local artist Stephanie Failmezger said, pointing to a whimsical, beaded tree she created. "The branches are kind of cloudy just to represent that hope and that otherworldliness of getting away and having that hope that sometimes seems like it doesn't exist."

This local woman knows the importance of art in the hospital setting.

"It just kind of sometimes takes you away from the situation you're in," Failmezger said. "I had a brother that had a double lung transplant, so this was a special project for me just because I wandered many a hall, and it's nice that they invested in original art. It really makes a difference, I think."

The units' combined 30,000 square feet contains 18 cardiovascular beds and eight intensive care beds, all in private rooms.

Plans for the units stretch back 15 years. Patients will begin moving into the units Wednesday.

There are no plans yet announced for the space of Mercy's old Intensive Care and Cardiovascular Units.

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