Construction workers moving in the background, leaders gathered Thursday morning to commemorate a significant revitalization of the intensive care unit at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital.
Due to open in the winter of 2023, the $10.8 million project is a down-to-the-studs renovation that increases capacity from 27 to 28 while adding a day room for patients to participate in group therapy while admitted to the locked unit which serves about 1,000 patients per year.
Officials also took the moment Thursday to christen the project the Shiley Intensive Care Unit in recognition of a $1 million gift from The Shiley Foundation.
Well-known local philanthropist Darlene Shiley, the foundation’s president, said she was inspired to contribute after reading about the current dire need for mental health services across San Diego County.
“I trust you to do what we’re all trying to do here which is to make a little more space for a few more people and, with a little bit of luck, we’ll just keep growing it,” Shiley said.
Christiana Paul, vice president of care continuum at Sharp Mesa Vista, said that plans call for larger patient rooms that look as similar as possible to the fit and finish that would be found in other intensive care rooms in hospital buildings not dedicated to mental health.
“If you visit the behavioral units in most hospitals, they looked like they haven’t changed since the 1980s,” Paul said. “The goal is that, when you go onto the unit, if doesn’t feel any different than any other unit at Sharp.
“To me, that’s about dignity.”