Project Description

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Improving Care for a Rural Community

The Problem

Located in a rural area with a declining population, a local hospital provided valuable care to its community. The facility needed to develop clinical spaces that enhanced the patient experience and facilitated provider recruitment efforts, both of which were necessary for growth. The planning team, made up of hospital/system leaders, wanted to ensure that the facility was well-equipped to support the needs of the community and grow services that the hospital could provide. Catalyst was engaged to evaluate the state of the campus and develop concepts for long-range development based on community needs, competitive market factors, historical trends, projected future utilization, and broader system strategic initiatives.

The Approach

Catalyst developed future use projections and incorporated the hospital’s strategic/operational priorities, tested these priorities using data-driven models, produced a number of planning options, and developed a focused scope of facility responses. Catalyst created planning concepts that addressed the hospital’s priorities and allowed leadership to manage capital and timeline constraints.

The Solution

Catalyst found several departments were undersized, which caused other issues. Inpatient departments lacked support and staff space, and the finishes in patient rooms needed upgrades. The ED did not have enough rooms, but the most significant issue was circulation around the triage rooms and waiting areas. The endoscopy area and imaging department both lacked support space for equipment, supplies, and staff. Cardiac rehab and physical therapy both were undersized for the modalities they housed, which created some safety issues for patients and staff circulating around equipment.

The preferred plan demolished the outdated physician office space, and consolidating the medical office space on campus resulted in a new building, which the planning team wanted to be physically connected to the existing hospital. The building was sized to accommodate future growth and recruitment of physicians.

The master plan also provided an option to correct the flow around the ED and triage area, which was a key priority. This resulted in a domino effect on other diagnostic and treatment departments. Their deficiencies were addressed, with attention paid to patient flow and experience. Finally, the master plan presented an option to expand skilled nursing should the need or desire arise to increase the number of patient rooms.

Catalyst’s solution prioritized keeping appropriate services local, eliminating the need for patients to travel further for care.

Project Details


Upper Midwest


Rural Hospital


Strategic Facility Master Plan

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