Two wards remodeled at Western State Hospital

WSH NGRI ward patient room. Western State Hospital — Building 29. 9601 Steilacoom Boulevard SW. Lakewood, Washington. Image license: NAC Architecture and DSHS/Western State Hospital.

A group of patients have a new home at Western State Hospital. Two remodeled new wards are meant to improve life for patients and staff alike.

Wards E-3 and E-4 in Western’s East Campus opened in February, with 20 not guilty by reason of insanity patients moving into each ward.

The wards include significantly larger nursing stations, artwork, private shower rooms, bathroom facilities in each single-patient room, medication and food serving windows, a seclusion room, a large common area with tables and televisions and an attached outdoor area.

The enlarged nursing station, which is quadruple the size of older stations, will directly help with patient care because the extra space will foster greater collaboration from direct-care staff.

“We found that if you have the room for the whole treatment team they will all come in here and they will all be a part of it,” said Steffanie Hibbard, the E-3 and E-4 ward nurse manager. “If not, they just send the other people to their offices and they don’t get to hear what’s going on out on the ward.”

The ward staff also benefit from having familiarity with the treatment teams. Many of those who staff the revamped E-3 and E-4 wards worked together on the closed wards.

“We’ve got a really good crew,” Hibbard said. “Most of them worked together on E-7 and E-8, so when that closed down they were able move over to the new wards. Most of them decided to stay together.

“Everybody’s shifting, but everybody’s just rolling with it and I’m really happy about that,” she added.

WSH NGRI ward TV and seating area.
Western State Hospital — Building 29. 9601 Steilacoom Boulevard SW. Lakewood, Washington. Image license: NAC Architecture and DSHS/Western State Hospital. © Copyright 2021 Benjamin Benschneider All Rights Reserved. Third party use may be arranged by contacting Benjamin Benschneider. bbenschneider@comcast.net

Each side of the L-shaped wards features 10 patient rooms and shower rooms. The patient rooms are painted either pastel yellow or pastel green, with smoked glass windows, blinds that open and close, a private toilet and sink with hot and cold water, a bed, a desk and furniture for the patient’s belongings.

“The rooms are nice and airy and they have a nice view,” Hibbard said.

One patient, a Scrabble wizard who is known for scoring upwards of 600 points in a game, said he likes the privacy afforded with the new ward.

“I like the fact that I have my own toilet and sink in my room,” he said.

The common areas of the wards have four TVs (the previous wards had one each), with one of the TVs set up with theater-style seating. The four shower rooms on each ward are ligature-free and have non-slip features. The wards also include Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant rooms set up for wheelchair access.

Other ward amenities include a patio area and intake rooms with a mural of nature landscapes to fit in with the earth tone paint schemes throughout the wards and in the patient rooms. These rooms include a TV that will allow patients to attend court hearings and have visitation with friends and family through Zoom.

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