How UPMC Mercy Pavilion Plans to Treat Numerous Vision-Related Conditions
The nine-story expansion to UPMC Mercy Hospital in Uptown connects disciplines of ophthalmology and rehabilitation, creating a patient-centric practice.
Call it one-stop shopping for cutting-edge eye care.
UPMC Mercy Pavilion intertwines disciplines in ophthalmology and rehabilitation to create a patient-centric experience in the healthcare giant’s newest building in Uptown.
The $520 million nine-story expansion to UPMC Mercy Hospital, which contains the UPMC Vision Institute and the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, is made up of 83 eye exam rooms, 10 rehab exam rooms, eight eye disease operating rooms (two with 3D imagery), 100,600 square feet of research space, a life skills apartment, rehabilitation gym and engaging local art installations. The public can also enjoy a new coffee shop, Uptown Cafe, this summer, and a retail pharmacy. Outdoor space is also open for the community to enjoy.
UPMC Mercy Pavilion was designed with significant input from Dr. José-Alain Sahel, director of the UPMC Vision Institute, and Dr. Gwendolyn Sowa, director of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, in close collaboration with design firm HOK.
The research space inside the pavilion will give physicians the opportunity to collaborate with scientists “to speed up life-changing medicine,” Julie Hecker, vice president of operations at UPMC Mercy, says.
“It’s an interesting new opportunity to collaborate clinically and scientifically,” Sahel says. “This is a very patient-centric approach. We care about what happens at home for them.”
During a media tour Wednesday, UPMC Mercy President John Innocenti and Hecker noted the pavilion is one of the few facilities in the country to house a life skills apartment to help patients undergoing rehabilitation become more comfortable with their environment at home.
“It’s equipped with appliances, high and low tables, a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom; everything they will need to do at home,” Innocenti explained.
“Patients weren’t rehabbed to this extent at our previous facility. We wanted to give patients more help with occupational therapy,” added Hecker.
JULIE HECKER, VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS AT UPMC MERCY, EXPLAINS ARTWORK IN THE REHAB GARDEN AT THE NEW UPMC MERCY PAVILION WEDNESDAY.
Next to the life skills apartment is an outdoor garden to help patients with vision impairments and mobility issues navigate various elevations and surfaces at home, “an exciting playground for recovery.”
A staff garden was also added to the pavilion to help alleviate stress and allow them to enjoy some fresh air on breaks. Break rooms on the outskirts of the building also give staff the opportunity to see the outside world during shifts.
Each level features its own unique artwork, such as the installation above the atrium hallway where colorful bottles filled with inspirational messages and mementos hang from the ceiling, visible from the large windows in each floor’s lobby. The installation is meant to represent the city’s three rivers. Illustrations featuring real patients doing what they love is also an integral part of the decor.
Hallway colors and high-contrast signs with large numbers were also designed with the patient in mind. The exam room process has also been streamlined to keep things efficient.
Sowa said Wednesday the integration between care and rehabilitation will help patients with emotional, mobile and cognitive conditions — a way to bring people together.
“We initially didn’t realize how much synergy would be within the departments. Those with mobility and visual impairments live quite similarly. We wanted to be able to integrate and collaborate in the space,” she added.
Sahel said he hopes the pavilion will improve the patient experience and become the next generation of care. He noted they are working on developing brain implants to help patients with mobility issues “to allow the restoration of movement and sensory functions.”