Thibodaux Regional Health System Medical Surge Case Study
In the spring of 2020, DonahueFavret Contractors was deep in the construction of a $38 million cancer center for Thibodaux Regional Health System, working with WHLC Architects. As COVID-19 became more widespread across the nation, Thibodaux Regional Health System took a proactive approach to prepare its facilities for a surge of patients. Trust was already established with the Owner/Architect/Contractor (O/A/C) team, which allowed immediate action.
On Thursday, March 26th, DonahueFavret received a phone call that the Owner wanted to work with us to build out an empty shell space in the hospital to accommodate the anticipated influx of patients. A design had not yet been developed, only a single plan page that showed the layout of the rooms. Our team worked around the clock and through the weekend collaborating with the Owner, design team and subcontractor partners to estimate the cost. We were able to come to a lump sum cost over the weekend. DonahueFavret began mobilization on March 31st, and a contract was signed by April 1st for $9.4 million of work to be completed in 50 days beginning immediately. Our teams worked two shifts, 7 days a week. A permit was issued on April 9, 2020. The scope encompassed 22,400 square feet, including 30 patient rooms of which 2 were isolation rooms, nurse’s stations, medication rooms, telemetry monitoring, a physician dictation room and housekeeping areas. The architects were producing documents at lightning speed with construction following right behind. The construction team worked with the architect and engineers to design-build the space as construction started prior to drawings being issued. The O/A/C team held a standing daily report call throughout the duration of the project. This allowed the construction team to receive answers in a timely manner to keep the project progressing forward.
Due to lead time issues with the permanent Air Handling Units, the construction team installed two temporary units on the roof. This allowed the construction to proceed with finishes prior to the permanent units arriving. Subcontractors were able to prefabricate headwalls and electrical off-site, allowing us to keep the number of employees physically at the jobsite to a minimum. This also allowed the project to be “fast-tracked” between all trades. Due to the size of the millwork package on the project, the millwork shop worked around the clock to fabricate the entire package within 30 days.
As medical demands continued to change and evolve, 30 days into the project the Owner requested that the rooms transition from Medical/Surgical inpatient rooms to Critical Care Unit (CCU) rooms, allowing for care and monitoring of critically ill patients. By this point, all of the treatment rooms were nearly finished, with flooring installed, first coat of paint on the walls, ceiling grid installed, and millwork scheduled to be installed in the upcoming days. Due to the requested changes, the ceiling grid had to be removed for more medical gas piping to be installed above the ceiling. Also, the drywall had to be removed at the headwall for additional medical gas outlets and at the foot wall to allow for installation of monitoring equipment such as cameras.
DonahueFavret was also tasked with connecting the new CCU unit to the existing hospital. The tie-in was located where the COVID-19 patients were being cared for. DonahueFavret and their subcontractors worked with the hospital to develop a specialized Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) plan for this challenging task.
The original contract schedule was April 1 – May 20. The change order added 30 days to the schedule, which extended the completion date to June 19th.
DonahueFavret received substantial completion on June 15th, completing a $10,673,000 project in only 76 days, in an operating hospital during a global pandemic. Under normal circumstances, this project would have easily taken eight months to design and build.
The resulting space is truly innovative and unlike any other in Louisiana. The new 30-bed CCU was designed and constructed to function as an acuity adaptable unit, an evidenced based patient care model that allows for the patient to be treated in the same room while levels of care change from intensive care to step down as the patient’s condition warrants. Dedicated negative pressure rooms were included to prevent contamination and the spread of COVID-19. The unit is equipped with state-of-the-art technology such as remote monitoring systems, closed circuit video monitoring systems, and bedside monitoring systems linked with the patient’s medical record.
The biggest challenges faced were safety, material procurement, and manpower during the current pandemic. With COVID-19 patients being treated in the hospital on the other side of a construction wall from the project location, it was a daily challenge to keep workers safe while adhering to the demanding schedule. DonahueFavret is trained and experienced in ICRA procedures and has worked in active hospitals for many years. This training, along with DFC and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, was critical to our success. The jobsite was “fogged” with a disinfectant chemical every night. We removed one window that was used for both trash removal and material delivery. We also utilized multiple superintendents and a full-time onsite project manager to keep the jobs open and properly supervised at all times.