Stanford Medicine Newsletter Updates For the Local Community

 

Under one roof

Neuroscience center integrates services in one location

Neurologist Frank Longo, MD, PhD (right), and neurosurgeon Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD, are co-directors of the new Stanford Neuroscience Health Center.

   

The new Stanford Neuroscience Health Center on Quarry Road in Palo Alto is devoted to the outpatient care of adults with neurological disorders. The 92,000-square-foot building combines neurology, neurosurgery and interventional neuroradiology services under one roof to make it as easy as possible for patients to receive a complete range of care.

Physicians in 21 neuroscience subspecialties will care for patients at the center, which incorporatesadvanced imaging and treatment technology, therapeutic support, neurodiagnostics, interventional procedures,clinical trials and education.The building’s interiors were designed with extensive input from a neuroscience patient advisory group. The panel will continue to meet regularly so that the perspective and experience of patients and families will continue to be integrated into service and patient care.The new center’s co-leaders are Frank Longo, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, and Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD, the professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford Medicine. They recently answered some questions about the new center.

Q: Stanford Health Care will open a new hospital in about two years that will greatly expand the space available for patient care. Why was a neuroscience health center needed?

Longo: Many of our neurology and neurosurgery patients often need care in several ways — maybe a CT scan, a visit with a doctor and a session with a physical therapist. As Stanford Health Care grew and expanded, our care evolved at different locations. Getting to services in several locations can be especially difficult for a patient with a neurological disorde rwho may be easily confused or have difficulty moving around. We knew we couldn’t consolidate with a remodel, and we needed more space than we might have had in the new hospital, which opens in 2018. We also wanted to include the feedback of our patients and our neuroscience patient advisory board right from the start.

Steinberg: I’ve been at Stanford for 41 years, and it has long been apparent to me that the system we had was not ideal for patients with neurologic disease and illness. The impairments that accompany those conditions can make it difficult to navigate to different places. As a leader in patient-centered care, we wanted to integrate all our services into one location to create an optimal patient experience where people feel that doctors are coming to them, not the other way around. We couldn’t have done that without this kind of building.

The new building is designed with amenities for neurology patients.

   

Q: The Stanford Neuroscience Health Center is beautiful, but its exterior doesn’t look so unusual. What’s on the inside that sets this building apart from others?

Steinberg: When the development of the center was first being discussed, we talked about creating an environment that would provide comprehensive care in a single facility. The new center offers even our most physically challenged patients the full continuum of care, from their initial treatment to lifelong living, including a balance and gait lab, mobility garden, and speech, occupational and physical therapy.

Longo: The center has a very special feeling to it. It’s something you notice as soon as you walk in. There are wider hallways and door openings. The colors and textures on the walls and floor have been selected for the safety for our particular patients. Floors are organized logically to reduce the need for patients to move around too much. There is also a one-time-only check-in system to make visits easier for people with more than one appointment in the building. We want ourpatients to come to our center and immediately recognize that it was designed to respond to their challenges in ways they have never seen in a care facility.

Q: How did you come up with these unique features?

Longo: We created a special neuroscience patient and family advisory council that began to meet very early in the building design and development process. We wanted to know, in as much detail as possible, how we could best accommodate our patients. The group participated in meetings with architects, clinical staff and space planners. Its input was a remarkable gift that produced changes rarely implemented in a health-care center in such detail and with such sensitivity.

Steinberg: As a clinician, you can forget sometimes what it’s like to be a patient — how much time you spend waiting for appointments, traveling to visits, receiving treatments and waiting to meet with your team of physicians. We wanted to hear patient input so we could alter the old system. We also had many dry runs with the advisory council and other volunteers to see how the new system would work. We wanted to make sure they would be comfortable from the very first day we welcomed patients.

Neurology patient Jinny Fruin (right) walks in the mobility garden with Luz Navarro, RT.

   

Q: What are other features patients will notice?

Steinberg: Many of our patients want to have family members or friends with them during their visit. Our care teammight include me, a nurse practitioner, a doctor receiving advanced training and a subspecialist neurologist. That number of people can be a tight, if not impossible, fit in a standard exam room. The center’s larger exam rooms will accommodate many more people comfortably.

Longo: The space for support services we now have in this building means our neurological rehabilitation area, which in-cludes a balance center and the kinematic lab, can accommodate some of the newest therapeutic equipment available. Onthe first floor, patients will see a wellness room — a beautiful, light-filled room with many features of a dance studio. It will support educational classes, lectures and physical activity sessions. All of these features are good for patients.

Q: How does this building benefit doctors?

Longo: The center brings together people who may have had some interaction before but never experienced direct collaboration. This will be the first time we’ve gathered people from all these neurological fields together. I am sure that entirely new approaches to patient care will evolve because we have all of these disciplines together under one roof. Our clinicians are motivated every day by their patients to come up with better treatment options. Working in closer proximity means they can share their enthusiasm with each other and push the boundaries of what we can do for patients.

Steinberg: One of the advantages of Stanford has always been the presence of people doing groundbreaking work inmany fields. New ideas are born because we run into each other by accident. In this center, it won’t be an accident. Thereare conference rooms on every floor, and many neuroscience providers will have offices here in the building. Also, for the first time, we’ll have clinical research offices located here, too. The best patient care often involves collaborative work between specialists and care teams in many fields. It’s a feature of Stanford Health Care and Stanford Medicine that continuously renews my drive and passion to create better ways of taking care of our patients.

To learn more about the center, please visit stanfordhealthcare.org/neuro.

 

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