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St. Luke's shows off updated facilities

It's called the PACU -- post-anesthesia care unit -- and it's the first stop for patients who have undergone a procedure requiring anesthetics. The PACU at St. Luke's hospital will provide a better experience for patients and their families start...

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Tom Kasell, sterile processing department manager at St. Luke's hospital, talks about the hospital's new equipment for cleaning instruments during a open house tour Thursday afternoon. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com
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It's called the PACU - post-anesthesia care unit - and it's the first stop for patients who have undergone a procedure requiring anesthetics.

The PACU at St. Luke's hospital will provide a better experience for patients and their families starting Monday, hospital officials say, after it was part of a $4 million remodeling project.

The hospital showed off the new PACU along with its newly renovated sterile processing department at an open house on Thursday.

The remodeled facilities complement the hospital's new surgical center, said Michael Boeselager, director of materials management and hospitality services. Unlike the $22.5 million surgical center, which opened in August in what the hospital calls Building A, the new facilities are in the main hospital.

The two areas are connected by a skywalk.

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The new PACU will have 14 beds - up from nine in the existing unit. That includes three private rooms for patients who may be particularly ill following surgery, Boeselager said.

One of those will be a family room, so when a patient has had a Cesarean section or when a child has been through surgery the family can be involved and have privacy, said Dr. Andrea Benson, a St. Luke's anesthesiologist.

The centerpiece of the sterile processing department is computerized washing and sterilizing equipment, Boeselager said.

The space is considerably larger than in the existing department and the capacity much greater, said Tom Kasell, the department's manager. It will ease the stress on employees who have scrambled to make sure instruments are sterilized and in place for surgery.

"It can be a challenge," Kasell said.

Construction of the new facilities began in August, Boeselager said, after a couple of years of preparation that involved numerous visits to other hospitals' facilities.

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Dr. Andrea Benson tells people touring St. Luke's near post anesthesia care unit about one of the new private family rooms on Thursday. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com

Related Topics: HEALTH
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