On April 17, as millions of Americans rushed to file their 2012 tax
returns, staffers at Piedmont Newnan Hospital had something else on
Long before sunup, a team of doctors, nurses, medical technicians,
ambulance company employees and even members of local law enforcement
met to practice one of the most challenging aspects of opening the brand
new hospital on Poplar Road: Moving patients safely from the existing
Hospital Road facility to the new hospital.
An exhaustive list of procedures, scheduled literally down to the
minute, was put in place to guarantee that not a single thing affecting
patient comfort, safety and continuity of care was overlooked.
The teams responsible for the actual move that will take place on May
8 had gone over the checklist and timetable countless times, but all
were aware that once the mock “patients” were placed aboard stretchers
to begin the transition between facilities, there was no room for error.
Conference Room 2 at the new hospital was set up as the Command Center
for the operation. At that location, hospital officials evaluated and
supervised the process as professionals in charge of transport and a
team of medical professionals practiced moving patients from Hospital
Road to the new facility and checking them in safely. Even an elevator
operator was on hand.
A similar team was assembled at the Hospital Road facility to move mock
patients from their rooms, place them aboard ambulances for transport
and follow up as the patients were moved across town. At every step of
the way, the process was scrutinized to spot any procedures that could
Law enforcement officials were at both locations to provide extra
security during the mock move and to provide any needed assistance.
“The purpose of our mock patient move was to test our processes and make
sure we have our plan down for our actual patient move day on May 8,”
said Anna Ivory, PNH vice-president of Organizational Quality. “We
tested seven different patient scenarios and simulated the full move
(from Hospital Road to Poplar Road) of three of those patients. We
included more than 60 staff members to prepare our ‘patients’ for
transport at Hospital Road, accompany them in the ambulance, and receive
them at Poplar Road.”
The seven mock patients simulated different conditions and medical needs to help staffers prepare for any contingency.
Patient 1 was portrayed by Karen Duffard, PHC director of strategic
planning, who acted as a “new mother” patient with a baby being moved to
the Poplar Road Emergency Department. Howard Masonheimer, representing
the “significant other” for the mother and child, rode along in the
ambulance. Alison Middleton rode with the mom/baby patient. Nancy
Mothorpe was the observer on floor and Laura Craig was the observer in
the Poplar Road Emergency Department.
Patient 2 was David Copelan, who portrayed a telemetry patient being
transported to Poplar Road. Lynda Little served as PNH Safety Champion
with the telemetry patient. Kim Crum was the Observer in 3MS (MedSurg)
and Laura Craig was Emergency Department observer.
Patient 3, Marsha Suber, portrayed an Emergency Department patient with
traction. Kimberly Corminey, RN, was assigned to the ED patient with
traction. Laura Craig served as observer.
Patient 4, PNH Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Nathan Nipper,
represented an isolation patient on vent being transported to the front
lobby of the Poplar Road facility. Respiratory Therapist Leslie Huff
served as both Safety Champion and respiratory therapist for this mock
patient. Dana Nyerges, RN, rode with the vent patient. Kathy Pirozzolo
was the observer on the floor, Laura Craig was Emergency Department
Mock Patient 5, PNH’s Director of Human Resources Ginny Lyles, portrayed
a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) patient. Yoshelda (Semone) Melson — White
acted as Safety Champion for the DNR patient. Angela Johnson was in
charge of safekeeping valuables for the DNR patient, which hospital
officials will do if family members are not available to take charge of
and transport personal items. Lynette Johnson was observer on the floor.
Laura Craig was the Emergency Department observer.
Patient 6, Jenn Lingenfelter, PNH director of performance improvement,
represented a psychiatric patient. Floor observer was Kathy Pirozzolo
and Emergency Department observer was Laura Craig. This patient was
accompanied by Stan Freeman, who was charged with providing security
Patient 7 was Teresa Singley, representing a BiPAP paptient headed to
the Poplar ROAD ambulance entrance. BiPAP is the common term referring
to BPAP, which stands for bilevel positive airway pressure, a breathing
apparatus that helps its user get more air into his or her lungs. Heide
Fye served as both Safety Champion and Respiratory Therapist for this
patient. Heather Cole was the RN riding with the BiPapp patient. Cheryl
Newbold was observer on floor. Laura Craig was Emergency Department
Tom Knight of Southstar Ambulance was on hand for all procedures to
observe and provide his expertise on behalf of Southstar, which has
experience moving patients in scenarios such as the move from Hospital
Road to the Poplar Road replacement facility.
Moving patients from the existing facility to the new hospital is one of
the most crucial and challenging tasks hospital officials face as the
countdown to opening the new Piedmont Newnan Hospital on May 8
approaches. At the completion of mock patient move exercises, it was
clear that the proper people and procedures were in place to assure a
“The mock patient move was successful and certainly very beneficial to
us, as we have been able to identify several processes that we will
adapt to best prepare us for a smooth patient move process,” said Anna
Ivory. “We are very appreciative to both Meadows Regional Medical Center
(in Vidalia) and Phoebe Sumter Medical Center (in Americus), which have
provided us guidance from their experiences in moving into replacement
Meadows Regional developed a patient move manual for its move in
February 2011, which Phoebe Sumter adapted and utilized in December 2011
when it also moved to its replacement hospital facility, she said.
Several Piedmont Newnan Hospital employees actually traveled to Americus
and observed this move.
“We have leveraged our experience of observing Phoebe Sumter’s move, and
we have also adapted the patient move manual for our use. Both have
proved extremely beneficial in our planning for the transfer of our
patients from Hospital Road to Poplar Road,” she said.