Jill is helping out; OHSU takes a different approach to designing new South Waterfront building…

A warehouse along Macadam Avenue in Portland houses a maze of cardboard, almost like an adult version of children’s forts.

The cardboard has aided Oregon Health & Science University in designing the rooms inside its planned $340 million patient building, parking structure and guest house that will break ground early next year.

In an unusual move, OHSU and ZGF Architects are engaging all the various groups who will use the building in the planning process. Doctors, nurses, patients, engineers and housekeepers all have given input over the past five months.

“It’s given everyone a new perspective on how we can craft everything,” said Dr. Reid Mueller, associate professor in the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. “Everything from the way the hallway flows to the positioning of the chair when you’re sitting with your family member and the importance of privacy in the recovery area.”

One patient who has participated is Jill Viggiano, whose husband had a stroke seven years ago.

“I have no medical background at all, it’s like stepping into Oz,” Viggiano said. She suggested the waiting room in the new building contain more distractions for family members, including kids — “something to play with and look at and be a kid and not feel like they’re annoying everyone else.”

The Center for Health and Healing South, as the new building will be called, will sit just south of the existing Center for Health and Healing, which contains doctors’ offices and outpatient space. It will also be a little shorter, at 15 as opposed to 16 floors.

The entire project will encompass 750,000 square feet. It will include 48 “extended stay” rooms and 76 guest rooms above the adjacent five-story garage. A small park will remain next to the patient building.

CHH-South will also contain space for surgery, interventional procedures, outpatient clinics for cancer, cardiovascular disease and gastroenterology, a pharmacy and imaging and lab space, conference center, parking garage and space for Knight Cancer Institute clinical trials.

An oval-shaped “mission control design” will allow gastroenterology, cardiology and pulmonary procedures to share a central core and some nursing staff.

“One of the great things about the space is that we’re integrating with other specialties,” said Dr. Gene Bakis, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. “Patients are best served by multiple specialties. Here we’re going to be feet away from each other to promote cooperation and collaborative thinking.”

Myths associated with Stroke


Posted by Emily Shearing

Four out of five strokes are preventable. Positive diet and lifestyle changes, as well as regular exercise and quitting smoking can all decrease stroke risk significantly.

And yet, a common myth is that strokes can’t be prevented.

Even more myths about the disease that affects 800,000 people each year exist. Here are a few prevalent misconceptions about stroke debunked.

Myth: Strokes don’t affect people under the age of 65.
Strokes don’t discriminate based on age. A quarter of strokes occur in people younger than 65, and one in ten strokes occur in people age 45 and younger, and those numbers are rising.

Myth: Recovery only happens in the first few months after a stroke occurs.
Although the time shortly after a stroke occurs is important, most stroke survivors see the effects of recovery for the rest of their lives. Continuing physical, speech, and occupational therapy for years after a stroke can still yield positive results. This is true…it is what is happening to me!

Myth: If you’re not in pain, it’s not a stroke.
Many stroke patients don’t feel any pain at all. The more common symptoms include dizziness and loss of balance, difficulty speaking, numbness in extremities, and trouble understanding those around you.

Myth: Strokes don’t run in the family.
The risk of having a stroke increases for those with a family history of stroke.

Myth: Strokes are rare.
There are 7 million stroke survivors in the United States and stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the country.

Myth: Small strokes don’t need medical attention.
Every stroke requires immediate medical attention. Prompt treatment could be the difference between life and death and making a full recovery versus having severe, long-term effects.

Myth: Stroke survivors have no life for themselves.
Although many survivors live with the effects of stroke for the rest of their lives, many make a strong recovery and live a fulfilling life. After suffering a stroke at age 21, survivor Andrew Bloom of West Palm Beach, Fla., graduated from college, got married, and had two kids. Bert Seitzinger of Virginia lost most of the use in his left hand after a stroke six years ago, but now spends his time restoring vehicles and building items by hand. “Challenges do not limit your ability to have a normal life,” Bloom says.

Somebody call 911!

We had a sobering experience at a presentation this morning.  Gordon was talking about the stroke and recovery experience when an audience member collapsed and required medical attention.  We all moved to another room while the EMTs attended to their patient.

The patient was new to this group so no one knew him.  Luckily, one person had the man’s business card so they knew his name.  He had no medical or contact information in his wallet.  What a scary and vulnerable place to be!

Gordon was only halfway through his presentation but with the turn of events at the meeting, his message certainly took on greater significance.  It also reinforced the importance of having certain information readily available in your wallet in case of emergency.

Do you carry written information showing your name, the name and phone number of your emergency contact, a list of your medications, and any other important information regarding your health?  If you are unable to communicate, would a medical professional be aware of your important details?  If the answer is no, do it now!  We used:

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This really shook up Gordon. His stroke was 7 years ago (March 27,2008) and he had passed out.  Luckily he was home and I could notify the team when they asked if he was taking any medication, any medical history, etc. . But what if he wasn’t home?  What then?

Even if you take no medication at all, a medical info card is important.  It will take 10 minutes to complete.  Do it now! 

Jill Viggiano