Baltimore Washington Medical Center Opens New Critical Care Unit

The University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) in Glen Burnie has opened a new critical care unit with added advanced medical technology.  

The hospital's newly renovated second floor space will house the critical care unit in its south tower. The new unit features 22 large, private patient rooms with space for family and loved ones, as well as a pharmacy on the unit. Two large resuscitation rooms contain all necessary medical equipment needed for an emergency. The resuscitation rooms were built with space for more than 10 providers to be in the room at the same time coordinating patient care.

"This new unit will help UM BWMC continue to fulfill our mission to provide high-quality care to individuals in our region," said Kathy McCollum, President and CEO of UM BWMC. "This innovative space and technology will better support our team in caring for our sickest patients, and reinforces UM BWMC's role as a regional resource for hospital-based critical care."

Central to the unit's design is the state-of-the-art technology and command center. Each patient room is equipped with an advanced bedside monitor that continuously tracks and transmits patient data to the unit's command center. This centralized wall of computer monitors keeps track of each patient's information 24/7, so that every provider on the unit knows how each patient is doing at any given moment. Changes in a patient's vitals are shown in real-time and trigger the care team to take action, as necessary.

"This advanced technology is giving our care team instant information that can be used to quickly make life-saving decisions," said Jean Jauregui, DNP, CRNP, Director of Nursing for Critical Care and Intermediate Care at UM BWMC. "Instead of relying on old, point-in-time data, we are getting a real-time feed that alerts us when we need to act. This increases our team's efficiency and helps us provide timely, high-quality and safe care."

The advanced monitors and patient rooms also come with several data ports to connect additional devices. Care team members can add or remove different monitoring devices depending on a patient's specific needs. The set-up is also forward-looking to enable technology purchased in the future to connect and integrate seamlessly with the unit's existing equipment.

"We wanted to build something that would address the care needs of our community today, as well as their needs 10 years into the future," said Jason Heavner, MD, Vice President and Associate Chief Medical Officer at UM BWMC. "With this unit, we harnessed the power of advanced medical technology so that we can better predict, plan and support the critical care needs that our community will need and expect from us."

The new unit is seen as an important clinical resource for Anne Arundel County. Approximately 2,800 patients receive critical care from UM BWMC each year. According to UM BWMC's community health needs assessment, chronic conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic lower respiratory disease are considered priority health care areas of focus for new care services. Patients with chronic conditions often need higher-acuity care services, such as critical care, during a hospital stay.

The UM BWMC critical care unit is staffed by a team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and advanced practice providers who specialize in critical care medicine as well as conditions of the lung, kidney and respiratory areas. The team coordinates care with many specialists across the hospital, including cancer, neurology and neurosurgery, vascular, cardiovascular, general surgery, physical therapy and respiratory therapy.