With all the fanfare surrounding the opening of the remarkable new Friese Family Tower, there was important behind-the-scenes work to be done. It was a meticulous process as patients, including the critically ill, were safely transferred from the retired 50-year-old building at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center.
The Oct. 1 move-in date was an extraordinary feat, ensuring that patients and the necessary equipment and services were available in the state-of-the-art five-story patient tower, the pinnacle of the Tarzana Reimagined expansion and renovation project. Behind this complex move lay years of meticulous planning and unwavering dedication from the medical center’s staff.
From the early stages of planning, hospital leaders collaborated closely with the design team and the general contractor, McCarthy Building Companies, actively shaping the process and flow of the project. Their input and influence has continued throughout all phases, ensuring a facility that not only prioritizes patient care but also offers a healing environment.
Executive Director of Construction Sharon Gross is a guiding force behind this transformative project, which she describes as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Having worked for Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center for more than 28 years, she says it’s “surreal” to see the project finally come to fruition.
“I’ve enjoyed learning and gaining a new sense of appreciation for the construction workers and design team and what they go through to get everything done,” she says. “We maintained this project while still providing exceptional patient care.” Doing so required collaboration across all departments. “Any work that went on inside the hospital, everyone was informed about.”
To ensure uninterrupted care during construction, hospital staff were kept informed through a daily dispatch of all construction activities that could affect their work.
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“We all worked around what we had to work around because we knew what the outcome was going to be,” Gross says. “Everyone has been very gracious, because we all knew that a beautiful facility would be the outcome.”
A comprehensive move sequence plan was formed with the help of Yellow Brick Consulting, which offers project management expertise to the health care industry. Gross emphasizes that the plan was followed as closely as possible, as it outlined exactly how and when to move patients and ensured adherence to all regulations.
Two dress rehearsals were held to help staff acclimate to the new units, validating their paths to work and testing all essential systems. “The rehearsals were important opportunities to get a feel for where things are and how to maneuver around the nursing station and the floors,” Gross says.
On the actual move day, beginning at 5 a.m., the medical center prioritized the relocation of the emergency department, efficiently transitioning patients to the new, larger ER. As patient safety always remains paramount, communication with patients and families ensured that everyone understood the process and importance of the move. To enhance patient comfort and safety, visitors were limited during the move. A command center was established to oversee the transition, which included Gross, multidisciplinary departments throughout the medical center and representatives from Yellow Brick. Critical care patients were moved carefully into new beds in advance of the official move day, ensuring a smooth transition into the Friese Family Tower that did not compromise their care.
Throughout the entire journey, the medical center’s commitment to exceptional patient care remained unwavering. The staff underwent extensive training from July until the move, familiarizing themselves with new equipment and systems so they would be prepared to deliver outstanding care in the new facility.
With the tower unveiled and Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center embarking on a new era of exceptional patient care, the move-in day epitomized the resilience and dedication of a community coming together for a common purpose. It stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment of the medical center’s staff and their collective effort to reimagine health care for the better.
“The community is just as excited. We gave hundreds and hundreds of tours to donors and friends,” Gross recalls. “Many community members have been able to witness the project from a hole in the ground to a beautiful, completed structure.”
Previously published in the Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center’s Health Matters Fall 2023 Issue.