In 2021, St. Cloud (Minn.) Surgical Center performed nearly 1,000 total joint cases, nearly double the almost 400 procedures it did in 2020. This growth would’ve been unattainable if the facility hadn’t made the game-changing decision to launch a major renovation of its outdated, 35-year-old building.
The entire expansion project centered around a critical but often-overlooked area of outpatient surgery: the sterile processing department (SPD). “We physically did not have the capacity to get the instrument throughput we needed,” says Darci Nagorski, St. Cloud’s administrator and CEO. “We had to add another washer and another sterilizer, and didn’t have the workspace to get the job done.”
St. Cloud solved the space problem by moving its SPD to a different area of the building and expanding it to 3,739 square feet, nearly three times the size of the old space. The facility added a total of 7,500 square feet to the south side of the building during the expansion, which included changing the location and overhauling the makeup of the SPD — complete with new washers, sterilizers and ergonomic workstations — nearly tripling the size of the cafeteria and converting the old SPD to two 650-square-foot operating rooms, a significant increase from the other 430-square-foot ORs in the facility.
Facility leaders who have been dragging their feet about renovations because the timing doesn’t feel right should consider that St. Cloud’s expansion began during the second, and arguably worst, wave of the pandemic. Here are the critical components of a renovation or expansion that can make the process as smooth as possible for facilities of all stripes.