Harvard University Health Services is scheduled to open a renovated space on its fifth floor, which previously housed Stillman Infirmary’s 10 overnight observation beds, at the start of October.
Construction on the fifth-floor space, which will soon house expanded counseling and mental health services, is mostly completed, according to Donald Perlo, the medical director of UHS after hours urgent care.
This summer, Harvard shuttered 10 overnight beds in Stillman—a 24-hour inpatient space that often serviced intoxicated students who reported to UHS for nighttime care under the College’s amnesty policy—with plans to renovate the space to expand same-day appointments and mental health resources by 20 to 25 percent.
In addition to housing reclining chairs and gurneys in place of overnight beds to treat after-hours patient groups on the fifth floor, the space will soon include a new handicap-accessible bathroom, new furniture and other supplies, examination rooms, and a nurses’ station for patient observation, according to Perlo. Several rooms in the fifth floor’s east wing have been reconfigured.
Following the renovated space’s debut in October, urgent care services will be administered solely on the fifth floor. Currently, students seeking urgent care receive medical attention on the third floor of UHS during daytime hours. After 5:30 p.m., these services move to the fifth floor, however, which means that UHS loses 10 to 15 minutes of clinical time during the transition.
“Not having to do that move is really going to make a difference, both for clinicians and I think for the convenience and comfort of patients,” Perlo said.
Following daytime urgent care services’ move to the fifth floor, dermatology and allergy services will expand on their existing offices in the third floor’s west wing.
The renovation of the UHS’s fifth floor concludes a months-long planning process that prompted controversy last year. Administrators made plans to shutter Stillman last year because the overnight facility was underutilized and students had requested more same-day appointments and mental health services. They said a shift in patient care would require the reallocation of existing resources and space, necessitating the Stillman closure.
Still, news of the reshuffling prompted student outcry after it was first reported last November, and UHS Director Paul J. Barreira said they would maintain in-person 24-hour urgent care but still close Stillman’s 10 overnight beds.
—Staff writer Celeste M. Mendoza can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @CelesteMMendoza.
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