By Lea Rittenhouse | Photos by Sarah A. Miller & Courtesy of Trinity Mother Frances
As first stand-alone cardiovascular hospital in the region, the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, began serving patients in December, concluding the two-phase plan established in 2010.
Through careful planning and research, the six-story facility resembles a hotel atmosphere, complete with comprehensive cardiac, thoracic and vascular services, 70-plus beds, a stained glass window chapel, gardens and spacious, family-friendly patient rooms.
“They’re not going to be feeling like they’re walking into a hospital, they’re going to be feeling like they’re in a four star hotel,” says CEO John McGreevy explaining the research behind the design. “It’s taking away your fear. It’s helping calm you because you’re not going to get that fear of walking into a hospital.”
In October 2010, Louis and Peaches Owen made a donation of $18 million to Mother Frances Hospital to help construct the first stand-alone heart hospital in East Texas, a gift influenced by her own heart surgery a few years ago.
“It’s through the generous gift of the Louis and Peaches Owen family that we’re able to do this,” McGreevy says. “This project came about in such a quick state and we’re able to capitalize on it.”
The main advantage to a freestanding cardiovascular heart hospital is the entire medical team is focused on cardiovascular disease, providing quality, specialized care, McGreevy says.
The vision for the heart hospital is patient-centered care focused on outcomes and patient satisfaction.
McGreevy refers to the hospital as a “medical mall,” providing a clinic, inpatient care, outpatient care and cardiac rehab all in one building.
The Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital will utilize the Modified Universal Bed Model, which allows pre and post-operative cardiac care to be delivered in the same room, including all nursing and technology resources needed. The resources in the patient’s room are flexible and adjustable as the patient’s healing progresses. This approach has proven to be easier on the patient rather than following the previous model, which involves taking the patient to different areas on campus for their care, according to a release.
The spacious rooms and lobbies emphasize family involvement, an obvious priority of the hospital and staff.
“The family member can become part of that healing process,” McGreevy says. “A family member being in the room, often times, will speak to a nurse, or speak to a physician or speak to a respiratory therapist when maybe the patient’s too afraid.”
About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year, amounting to about one in every four deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Fagg Sanford, chief of cardiology, says the need for cardiac care in East Texas remains great because of lifestyle choices and natural associations.
“We have a fairly large Medicare aged population and an aging population that are in need of cardiovascular services,” Sanford says. “It’s no secret that our diets are often less optimal than they should be, our physical activity is lower than it should be, our rates of obesity are higher than they should be and unfortunately, all of those things are a little worse in East Texas than they are in the state as a whole.”
The most common cardiovascular diseases in East Texas and the major issues the heart hospital will deal with are: Coronary Artery Disease, Arrhythmias, Valvular Heart Disease and Congestive Heart Failure, Sanford says.
Nationally, Coronary Heart Disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually, according to CDCP.
Sanford encourages people to pay attention to recognized risk factors of heart disease and to seek appropriate consultation if there is concern, because early diagnosis and appropriate treatment is critical if possible.
“…Those things that are in their power to control, of course, smoking or session of smoking… controlling blood pressure, controlling cholesterol and controlling diabetes,” he says. “If people are concerned they should talk to their family physician or their primary provider.”
Preventative care, early recognition when it does exist, team medicine and care is the recipe for the best possible outcomes for the patient.
“Doing what’s right for the patient, not just what can be done but what should be done,” he says.
In addition the to the specialized healthcare, the heart hospital will also provide jobs for the region. Deb Taylor, chief nursing officer says there are several opportunities available.
“We’re really excited about bringing in new folks to our team to join the experts that we have on staff already,” she says. “The nurses in the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital will support the management of patients with cardio, thoracic, vascular and pulmonary disease and all aspects of their care, from helping to diagnose the problem, to treating the problem, to supporting their recovery even after they leave the hospital.”
Through the generosity of the Owen family, the specialized cardiac hospital will continue to progress and provide opportunity for East Texas.