More about Monument Health

Cover Story: Building for Generations

Published December 2020 | In Winter 2020

Introducing you to the people instrumental in developing and changing the landscape of health care in Rapid City for generations to come.

Cover Story: Building for Generations Media

Coming to Monument Health may sometimes mean patients and their families are experiencing some of life’s biggest hardships. With this in mind, the team at Monument Health wanted entering the doors on Fifth Street to feel like walking into somewhere familiar. The stone facade evokes our golden South Dakota prairies; while inside visitors are greeted by pictures of Spearfish Canyon, Custer State Park, the Badlands and more. In a word: home. Whatever brings patients to Monument Health, creating familiarity helps take the stress off their shoulders as they are embraced by the world-class, caring staff.

Marcia Taylor, RN, has worked for Monument Health for 46 years; a journey she says has been gratifying due to her variety of job experiences. But even more importantly, Monument Health has been there for her and generations of her family in some of their toughest times.

Her mother-in-law, now 93, was hospitalized years ago for a broken hip. Amidst a tough situation, Marcia says “Monument Health really stepped up and helped her recover, with great outcomes, and now she’s in good health.”

Marcia’s husband, Randy Taylor, has also spent time in the care of Monument Health. A number of years ago, Randy called Marcia to tell her his back hurt. “I told him to come in, and on the way in he blacked out and his truck left the road” Marcia says. Both Randy and their son were transported to the Emergency Department and treated upon arrival. Their son was fine, and while Randy had suffered a heart attack, he recovered well under the care of Monument Health.

No matter what her family has had to visit Monument Health for—when Marcia gave birth to their sons, various trips to the Emergency Department that come with childhood, even Randy’s open heart surgery—Marcia says that their entire family is grateful for the specialties and level of care that Monument Health provides. Not only that, she says “everyone at Monument Health really focuses on their patients. It’s not just about the medical outcomes, they make sure that your care serves you and your goals.”

Patients and Families

Marcia Taylor RN, is a Clinical Coach at Monument Health. It’s a role that allows her to give guidance in clinical situations and work with patients, families and staff to find the best plan of care. “We know that environment can create healing effects,” she explains. “A lot of work went into talking about what healing means and how that can be shown through physical structure.”

This resulted in not only reworking the Fifth Street Entrance at Rapid City Hospital, but also the healing room, garden, and other quiet places where people can take a moment and refocus. “The majority of people in acute care settings did not plan to be there,” Marcia says. “Their whole life is disrupted, causing significant stress. Quiet areas allow for a moment of reflection or prayer, or even just being with loved ones in silence for a little bit.”

It’s also about the family; health care settings help foster a connection between generations. Children might be visiting parents or grandparents, and everybody is feeling stress over the experience. “You just strive to see what you can do to meet their needs with the situation at hand and make their experience as individualized as possible,” she says. “We like their feedback and want to make sure it improves their outcome. That’s our goal and something we should be doing every day.”

This brings a human element to what is often a difficult and unsettling period in an individual’s life, and is at the heart of patient-centered design, a concept that puts an emphasis on quality care and patient satisfaction.

Comforting Yet Functional

While the new entrance is aesthetically appealing, the goal for this construction project wasn’t merely cosmetic improvements. With the busiest Emergency Department in the state of South Dakota, the need for more space—and more efficient use of that space—was the overriding impetus for the expansion.

John Pierce, President of Rapid City Hospital and Market, has dreamed of expansion ever since joining Monument Health 21 years ago. He was particularly passionate about bringing heart and vascular care onto the Rapid City Hospital campus.

"We are an important asset to our community, so being able to grow our campus in a way that will help us better serve our communities for years to come is very exciting,” John says.

The addition of 380,000 square feet of building space includes a brand new Emergency Department; complete with rooftop helipad and a drive-through ambulance garage. There’s also the newly relocated Heart and Vascular Institute, and the Heart and Vascular Unit which combines a 32 private room inpatient facility with outpatient cardiovascular services all under one roof.

Art as Healing

When selecting artwork, Monument Health’s curation team focused on how each piece would impact both patients and caregivers. Choosing art that creates a sense of familiarity and calm has been proven to relieve anxiety associated with a health care environment and ultimately decrease stay times. Not to mention, the presence of art reduces stress and increases satisfaction for caregivers, enabling them to better assist those trusted to their care.

While spending money on art may seem strange in a health care setting, Monument Health believes that health care needs to be functional, not institutionalized. Patients have enough stress when they walk in the doors, the space they walk into should be welcoming and comforting. The new art installation does exactly that, welcomes patients in, make them feel at ease, assists in their healing and helps them continue their life’s journey.

Monument Health used a patient-centric model that focuses on reducing patients’ stress and anxiety, which increases positive outcomes and reduces hospital stay times.