Owned and operated by Share Foundation, a not-for-profit public charity, Life Touch Hospice in El Dorado, Ark., opened its 16-bed John R. Williamson Hospice House in March 2007. For Life Touch Hospice Executive Director Linda Swart, now retired, it was the culmination of a dream.
“For as long as I can remember, Linda dreamed of building a first-class, state-of-the-art facility to provide the highest level of care for terminally ill patients in a home-like setting,” Brent McDiarmid, vice president of HVAC contractor Glenn Mechanical Inc., said.
Swart had visited 29 hospice facilities in 11 states to develop a checklist of what she wanted for her own facility. Her list included simultaneous cooling and heating, a central HVAC control system, individual room controls, indoor-air quality, and ventilation in each patient suite. By fall 2005, she had the funds needed to begin construction.
Because of the multiple environments and variable load factors involved — especially the simultaneous cooling and heating needs of the patients — a Mitsubishi Electric HVAC City Multi Variable Refrigerant Flow Zoning (VRFZ) system was selected.
Swart wanted a home-like environment for both patients and families. She was determined to make sure nothing would have the slightest look, feel, or smell of a nursing home or hospital. She was impressed with the fact that City Multi systems have a heat-pump feature.
“In the final hours of a person's life, there is a strange kind of chill that falls over a room, especially felt by the family,” Swart said. “I knew the City Multi controls would provide warmth and comfort in the rooms.”
The outside temperature dropped into the 20s a month after Life Touch's administration building, which shares the 12-acre campus with the Hospice House, opened.
“We simply turned on City Multi's heat mode, and the entire 8,100-sq-ft building was comfortable in no time,” Glenn Mechanical Project Manager Jack Lann said.
Swart also was fond of the advanced City Multi Controls Network.
“I have control of each indoor unit from my office computer,” Swart said. “From there, I can bump the temperature up or down in each patient suite, keeping everyone happy. Furthermore, Glenn Mechanical can control the entire network by remote access in an emergency or in the middle of the night. This feature gives me a great level of comfort.”
Swart strove to maintain a quiet, peaceful setting for patients and their loved ones. She liked the fact the City Multi outdoor units have such a small footprint, and she enjoyed showing visitors that one can walk right up to the outdoor units and not even hear them operating.
UNIQUE CHALLENGES RESOLVED
Swart said it was the City Multi system's ability to provide simultaneous cooling and heating that convinced her.
“The last few days of one's life are just as important as the first few days after birth,” she said.
Swart told Glenn Mechanical that a dying patient may be emaciated and need the room hot — as high as 80F — while the patient next door needs his or her room very cold — as low as 60F. She said having the flexibility to heat one room and cool another was her No. 1 design essential.
Information and photographs courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric HVAC.
On the Job
City Multi equipment installed on the Life Touch Hospice campus:
Two PURY-P72TGMU-A R2-Series (R-410A) outdoor units.
11 PURY-P96TGMU-A R2-Series (R-410A) outdoor units.
26 PDFY-P15NMU-E ceiling-concealed ducted indoor units.
Six PDFY-P12NMU-E ceiling-concealed ducted indoor units.
Four PDFY-P36NMU-E ceiling-concealed ducted indoor units.
16 PDFY-P24NMU-E ceiling-concealed ducted indoor units.
Six PDFY-P48NMU-E ceiling-concealed ducted indoor units.
10 CMB-P105NU-G branch controllers.
Three CMB-P106NU-G branch controllers.
58 PAC-YT51CRA-E Simple MA remote controllers.
Two G50B centralized controllers.