Last updated: July 18. 2013 11:29PM - 590 Views
Amelia Holliday
Staff Reporter

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Patients and visitors to the Hazard ARH will have to navigate the construction area and detours at the facility for at least another year as construction continues on a new addition to the hospital.

But Trena Hall, ARH director of corporate projects, said the possible confusion and frustration with the detours will be well worth it for patients once the new addition is completed in the spring of 2014.

“I think that people will feel the impact from smoother patient care processes and shorter waiting times for beds, because we’ve had such a difficult time finding beds for patients to accommodate the needs,” Hall said.

The three-story, 98,000-square-foot expansion, started in April 2012, will be able to accommodate an additional 50 beds, Hall explained, bringing the hospital’s bed count to 358. Sixteen of those beds will be on the second floor and will be used for critical care and open-heart patients, the other 34 will be on the third floor for inpatient surgeries.

“Hazard’s hospital has the most complexity of illness and care needed for this patient population of any hospital in our system. Hazard is a referral center for other hospitals. If they need open heart surgery or they need orthopedic or they need urology … it’s not just a matter of what this particular community needs in Hazard’s hospital, it’s grown to a point where it has to be what the needs of the region are for the hospital,” Hall said.

The first floor will house the new emergency room (ER), which will double the capacity of the existing ER to 24 beds. Hall said in addition to doubling the bed count, the new ER improves on technical capacity as well to better accommodate the health care world of today than the one of 20 years ago.

“All the beds will have cardiac monitors, so no matter where you need to put a patient there would be cardiac monitoring capacity, and there are several of the rooms that are created specifically to deal with trauma,” Hall said.

The existing ER will be renovated after the new addition is completed and fully occupied to house additional outpatient surgery beds, which is an area that the hospital really struggles to have enough space for all patients, Hall said.

“Your goal is to have more beds available so people don’t end up waiting in the emergency room for a bed; to have more emergency room beds so that they don’t have to wait in the waiting areas to get into the emergency rooms,” she said. “By the end of 2014, we should be able to have operation in both the expansion and the renovated ER.”

Hall said she has no doubt patients with Hazard ARH will feel positive effects after the renovation and addition are complete and fully operational

“I think that we’ve really made an effort to think of the processes and the time and how people receive care, and not just how to build a building,” she said. “There’s an impact on the patient care processes that should help them become more efficient and smooth.”

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