A focus on safety is the underlying message as officials at Franciscan Health Michigan City lay the groundwork for the move to a new hospital at Interstate 94 and U.S. 421.
A key component of that preparation took place Dec. 14 as dozens of staff members and outside contractors gathered for a “Mock Move Day,” meant to replicate what will happen when patients are moved to the new facility.
Trish Weber, Franciscan Health Michigan City vice president of operations, said the exercise was intended to test how long each part of the move would take and to clarify the roles of the staff and contractors involved. “We don’t want to rush, and safety is the primary focus,” Weber said.
The actual move will take place on Jan. 12, when emergency department services will close down at the current Homer Street location at 6 a.m. and open at the new facility. Beginning at 8 a.m. on that day, staff will move all patients to 3500 Franciscan Way.
At the mock move, Franciscan Health employees played the roles of a new mother with her infant child and an intensive care unit patient. Staff with Superior Ambulance moved the “patients” into two ambulances and drove the route south on Ohio Street to the new hospital as Patrick Moriarty, president of Health Care Relocations, timed each step along the way. On the actual day of the move, ten ambulances will be in constant rotation, transporting patients. Depending on the number of patients on that day, the move is expected to be completed by 1 p.m.
As nurses and paramedics tend to each patient’s medical needs, the sisters of Franciscan will be on hand to offer a blessing before they leave Homer Street and as they arrive at the new hospital. “We want to meet the holistic, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient during this move,” Weber said.
Marking another step toward the hospital opening, on Dec. 13, a helicopter fly-in took place to test the helipad landing and fly zone at the new hospital.