A suite deal for surgical patients

Just because it's called "outpatient surgery" doesn't mean that once the procedure is over, the patient's ready to go home.

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Human Appearance realized that its patients sometimes need to be close to the medical staff, but not necessarily in a hospital room, following surgery. So Assistant Professor of Surgery Louis Bucky, a member of the center's staff, worked with Penn Tower Hotel staff to create the Concierge Program, which allows patients to recover from their surgery in a comfortable environment that still offers access to medical care.

The program's two suites, located on the hotel's 17th and 18th floors, offer the advantages of home - privacy, some kitchen facilities, and another room for relatives or care-givers.

Artis Ryder displays the tilted bed.

Photo by Dwight Luckey

"The best thing about it is that people feel secure being close to the hospital and their doctor," says Artis Ryder, administrator of CHA. "So if they have a question or a worry, one of the residents or their doctor can be at their bedside in a few minutes."

Suites have a hospital bed so patients' heads can be elevated following facial surgery to prevent bruising or other complications. Other features, such as handrails in the bathroom, give patients the additional assistance they can't get at home.

Patients from HUP may check in the morning following their surgery instead of waiting for the hotel's usual afternoon check-in. Patients stay anywhere from one night to a week in the suites, which cost $250 per night, as opposed to $1,750 out of pocket for additional nights at HUP. (Plastic-surgery patients spend one night in HUP as part of their surgical package.)

Patients from departments other than CHA can use the suites as well, and the School of Dental Medicine's Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery will begin referring its patients to the suites next month.

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Originally published on May 13, 1999