After doctors, patients and employees got their first extended looks at the expanded Glenbrook Hospital, positive reviews have come in for the multi-million-dollar, three-year project.
The final stage of expansion—a $150-million project begun in 2009—at the NorthShore University Health System hospital, 2100 Pfingsten Road, wrapped up recently, with the most recent step including an addition to the fifth floor with dozens of new private patient rooms.
As the communities around the hospital, established in 1977, continued to grow and evolve over the years, NorthShore wanted its services to keep up with patients' needs, said David Rahija, vice president of Glenbrook Hospital.
"The response has been overwhelmingly positive," Rahija said. "It has improved access to health care for our community especially with the addition of our emergency department."
The overall project, completed in December, included creating a new cancer center, neurological health institute, urological health center and a bigger emergency department for the hospital, among other improvements.
Rahija said the hospital can now provide more specialists and expertise—particularly through a recent collaboration between NorthShore and the Mayo Clinic announced last fall. A new video consultation room in aid of that partnership is scheduled to open sometime in April, he said.
NorthShore, which is headquartered in Evanston, includes a network of four hospitals in Evanston, Highland Park, Glenview and Skokie. The health care system employs about 10,000 people and has about 2,100 affiliated physicians, according to the network's web site.
Patients with complicated cases who previously had to visit Evanston will now have those multidisciplinary medical services in their community, Rahija said.
Nicole Fernandez, vice president of the nursing department, said the fifth-floor addition and its 48 new rooms gave the hospital an opportunity to provide private rooms for all patients.
"The set up of the unit has allowed for a much more quiet environment to allow for more healing and recovery," she said. "It's been a great addition."
Fernandez said employees have also noticed improvements due to the expansion.
Wendy Gabry, 55, a staff nurse with the hospital emergency department, said she's pleased with the results. Gabry, who has worked at the hospital for 33 years, said she has been through a number of expansions and says the latest one was the best.
"It was the easiest to work through because we're in a whole new space," Gabry said, adding that staff did not have to work in the middle of construction. "This one was well thought-out."
She said the larger emergency department makes it easier for her to do her job. The department grew from less than 9,000 square feet and 18 patient beds to almost 25,000 square feet and 30 beds.
"It's just got a much more positive feel than the old ER," said Gabry, of Mundelein. "We're not running back and forth nearly as much as we used to … It's lighter, brighter, airier."
Joanna Davidson, an ER resident who has done rotations in the last two years at Glenbrook Hospital, said she enjoyed working in the large rooms there.
"They did a great job," Davidson said.
Other nearby residents said the hospital was great even before the expansion.
Pat Thompson, a Gurnee resident who has visited the hospital a number of times over the past 10 years, said she had a pleasant experience each time.
"People have always been nice here," said Thompson, who was in the hospital recently for her daughter's surgery. "It's the feeling you get when you come through the doors."