M Health Fairview St John’s Hospital in Maplewood, Minnesota, US, is set to open a new, purpose-built short-stay and observation unit. 

Scheduled to begin operations this month, the unit is designed to alleviate the pressure on the hospital’s emergency department, which has seen a significant increase in patient volume since 2022.  

The 16-bed facility aims to improve the efficiency of hospital resource utilisation. 

It is also expected to streamline patient flow, reduce wait times, and provide timely access to medical interventions in a setting tailored to the complexity of the care needed. 

The facility has been constructed by Boldt and designed by HGA. 

To minimise disruption to the busy emergency department (ED), St John’s Hospital employed prefabrication techniques during construction, which is more predictable and controlled compared to traditional construction. 

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This method of construction is claimed to mitigate the impact of supply chain issues and labour shortages, as well as weather conditions on costs and schedules.  

The companies initially constructed modules using steel-framed chassis, after which each chassis was inspected for quality before leaving the production facility. 

The off-site construction approach resulted in a smaller footprint on the hospital campus, requiring fewer workers and less space, and allowing for shorter construction durations.  

The observation unit was constructed to more than 90% completion in Appleton, Wisconsin, before being transported and installed at St John’s Hospital in Minnesota.  

Construction began offsite in September 2023, with the prefabricated unit arriving at St John’s in late November, where teams completed the final construction and furnishing. 

M Health Fairview St John’s Woodwinds and Bethesda Hospitals medical affairs vice president Will Nicholson said: “In the face of escalating patient visits, our ED and inpatient medicine teams have been proactive and innovative in their response. 

“This approach is a game-changer. It allows us to rapidly develop the needed space without impeding current operations.”