A $232 million investment by Beacon Health will transform South Bend’s Memorial Hospital to meet current and future community care needs, system officials say.
A new 10-story patient bed tower, which will feature seven patient care floors, will be among the most visible aspects of the project. Other elements include renovation and expansion of the hospital’s intensive care unit, and redesign and renovation of other areas of the hospital campus.
System officials say the work will be completed by March 2026. When finished, it will add 50 patient beds to the hospital and create 500 new jobs.
“This is a transformational, once-in-a-generation project that will serve the growing health care needs of patients in our region for decades to come,” said Larry Tracy, president of Memorial Hospital. “Understanding how we play a critical role in serving the health needs of our community, we have spent thousands of hours examining how we will provide clinical care and improve our patient, family and staff experience in this facility.”
Beacon Health initiated a master facility plan process in June 2019 to evaluate its inpatient bed tower. The result was a plan to redefine and expand the space and facilities Memorial Hospital has available for adult critical care, adult acute care, emergency and trauma care, ICU, diagnostic imaging and outpatient surgery.
Hospital staff and administration collaborated to determine best ways to provide care delivery. Patient rooms will be larger, quieter and will have their own temperature controls as well as equipped with telemetry, remote monitored alarms and mobility lifts.
Every room will also feature new dedicated family and visitor spaces.
The patient tower’s expanded capacity and technologically advanced features will help meet the growing health care needs of the community and allow patients to remain close to home for high acuity care, system officials said. Memorial Hospital offers the only Level II Trauma center in 90-mile radius of South Bend and is the area’s only children’s hospital and pediatric ICU and provider of air-medical transport services.
The pandemic also influenced Beacon Health’s design of the patient tower.
The tower will feature improved ventilation, floors with negative pressure rooms, new way-finding for ease of access for patients and families and more natural light and outdoor spaces for patients, visitors and staff. A new central elevator bank will provide access to nearly all levels of the hospital from the main lobby.
System officials said the overall project will have a more than $400 million economic impact on the community, according to an analysis by the South Bend Regional Chamber.
“This facility will complement our caregivers and help them do their best work,” Tracy said.