After three days of hoopla, including open houses and a
ribbon-cutting, the new wing of Carroll County General Hospital will be occupied today.
After breakfast, the hospital will begin moving in patients with diabetes, pulmonary problems and those recovering from strokes and cancer, said Tricia Supik, director of medical surgical nursing, during a final open house yesterday.
The spacious and homey third-floor wing, called Three West, features six private rooms, 14 semi-private rooms and others designated and equipped for Hospice Care and for those with disabilities.
The 34-bed unit will bring the number of beds in the Westminster hospital to 158 from 148, said Gil Chamblin, the hospital's public relations director. Twenty-four of the new beds will replace others in the hospital, she said.
"Carroll has the highest occupancy rate of any hospital in Maryland," said Ms. Chamblin, citing Maryland Hospital Association statistics. Noting the hospital had an 88 percent occupancy rate at the end of December compared with the state average of 66 percent, she said, "We have tremendous pressure for beds."
The new $700,000 medical-surgical nursing unit features the latest innovations in hospital design and services, Ms. Supik said. The wing is "patient- and visitor-friendly," she said.
"It's also designed to make it easier for nurses and doctors to do their jobs." For instance, computers outside patient rooms and at the nursing station will provide the staff with immediate access to patient test results, she said.
"We'll have everything at our fingertips," Ms. Supik said.
Closets, called nursing stations, are outside each room for convenient storage of medications and supplies. The wing also contains a large nurse station and a conference room for staff meetings and in-service training.
L Rooms are decorated with attractive wall coverings, pastoral
prints and comfortable furniture in hues of teal, plum and mauve. The rooms contain the most advanced beds in hospital care, which allow patients more independence. From each bed, a patient can adjust room or reading lights, television stations and volume and the bed's position.
Each room contains "My Father's Chair," a contemporary-style chair designed to improve circulation, allow correct posture and help a patient get up more easily. The chairs were designed by a physician whose father had a stroke.
Responding to patient concerns, the hospital has installed new televisions -- one for each patient -- throughout the building. The televisions are closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and have access to Prestige Cablevision.
Ms. Supik said the new unit "reflects the hospital's commitment to the hospice care," allowing terminally ill patients to be as comfortable as possible. Two rooms afford panoramic views and have access to a family room with appliances and a sofa bed for overnight visitors.
Bertha Blizzard, a Westminster resident whose late husband was treated for a gall bladder at the hospital a few years ago, was impressed with the new wing. "I think it's great," she said. "These new things are just beautiful. I think it's good for hospitals to have these new things. They'll really be helpful."