Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk safely relocated 81 patients in 3 hours from the A-wing to the new East Tower.

Sentara Leigh Hospital new East Tower opens


Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk safely relocated 81 patients in 3 hours from the A-wing to the new East Tower. The East Tower is the first of two 5-story towers that will eventually replace three 1977-era patient wings.

“I thought I was in a hotel,” said orthopedic patient Ceasar Redublo as he settled into his new room. “It’s so big,” he says of his room.  “This is a nice place.”

Redublo’s room is more than twice as big as the room he left and includes a private bath with a no-step shower, which reduces the likelihood of falls, and accommodations for family members to sleep.

“Absolutely blown away,” said John Champeau. “The nurses and the service in the old place were great, but this new room is phenomenal,” he said. “If you have to be in the hospital, this is the place to fenagle your way into.”

Patient rooms in the East Tower include a touchpad call system with a family feature that allows family members to request a chaplain or patient advocate, a blanket, pain medicine or other services with the touch of a button. The calls go directly to the needed provider, which reduces unnecessary trips for nurses. The call system also allows nurses to silence their wireless phones for 15 minutes during medication administration to minimize interruptions and maintain focus.

Calls are routed to nurse managers during that period. The call silencing feature is currently unique to Sentara Leigh Hospital.

“It’s patient-driven, it’s family-inclusive and it has all the latest technologies,” says Sentara Leigh Hospital president Terrie Edwards. “These new towers are positioning our hospital for the next 30 years.”

Since 2007, Sentara Leigh Hospital has doubled the size of its emergency department and upgraded operating rooms and sterile support areas for the future.

“This is my second stay at Sentara Leigh,” said patient Charlotte Burke. “The old room was so small that the staff would have to take things out to bring in portable equipment,” she recalled.  “But, you won’t have that problem with this room.”

Patient rooms in the East Tower also have renal dialysis equipment built into the walls, so patients can be dialyzed in the privacy of their rooms.
With the move-in for the East Tower complete, Sentara Leigh Hospital plans to begin demolishing the vacated A-wing in December to make room for the West Tower construction. Currently, 110-foot pilings are being driven for that project. The entire replacement project for the 250-bed hospital, including a two-story atrium entrance and new outpatient and education facilities, is scheduled for completion in 2016.