Critical Care Comes to Gig Harbor

Residents of Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula have joined those communities fortunate enough to have a critical care unit (CCU) close at hand now that St. Anthony Hospital has opened

Comfort and advanced features
Manuel Iregui, MD, one of the pulmonary and critical care physicians who cares for patients in the St. Anthony CCU, was involved in the planning of the 16-bed unit from the start.

"We aimed for state-of-the-art rooms—not just for the patient but for the family as well—and have reached the goal every step of the way. The rooms are large enough to hold all the necessary equipment while allowing family to be comfortable when they visit," Dr. Iregui says. "A large foldout sofa enables family members to sleep over. And for those who need access to the Internet, Wi-Fi is available so they can bring a laptop in and get work done or e-mail family and friends."

Another advantage of the large rooms is that beds can be moved, allowing patients to look out the windows and enjoy the sights. "This is especially helpful with elderly patients who find the view soothing," Dr. Iregui says.

Each of the 16 critical care rooms is equipped to treat all levels of patients. That means patients don’t need to be moved to another area when their condition changes. A centralized boom lifts unneeded equipment out of the way. Each room has special patient lifts so medical personnel can move patients without risking injury to themselves. Nurses monitor patients around the clock from a centralized area outside of patient rooms.

Care when you need it

"Because of nationwide funding limits, training opportunities for pulmonary and critical care fellowships are declining, and as a result, not all communities have access to critical care services," Dr. Iregui explains. Residents in the hospital’s service area are among the fortunate. Intensive care physicians are on rotation around the clock at St. Anthony, ensuring the same high standard of care provided at Franciscan’s other hospitals.

The demand for critical care and intensive care continues to increase. Each year, more than 5 million Americans need critical or intensive care medicine after surgery on major organs or blood vessels, heart attack, stroke, trauma or accidents. The sooner they’re treated, the better. "I know that many doctors in Gig Harbor, Port Orchard and Silverdale are excited about St. Anthony. They’re glad that their patients and their families won’t have to drive across the bridge to receive critical care."