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Progress is ongoing at Bedford Memorial

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By John Barnhart

Progress at Bedford Memorial Hospital has been an ongoing project this year.

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    According to Patti Jurkus, the hospital’s CEO, the hospital recently completed a major renovation of the medical/surgical floor that occupies the former obstetrics floor.
    This was more than just cosmetic. They ripped out ceilings. They ripped up floors. They reconfigured rooms.
    The result does not look like a 1950s hospital.
    The halls are bright, spotlessly clean and modern looking. They have seats that fold out from the wall that allow nurses to update a patient’s records, on their computer carts, outside a patient’s room if need be.
    All the rooms are now private rooms. The old commodes were removed and replaced with new ones that are higher. In addition to a large reclining chair, with a hinged side that makes it easier for  patients to get in and out, there are chairs for guests that fold into the wall when not being used. All equipment, and connections for equipment, are centralized in one spot, next to the bed. Everything is in the same place in each room, helping a nurse to move quickly when seconds count.
    Each room also has a small board, on the doorway, with tabs that can be flipped out, letting a nurse see at a quick glance if there are special   conditions  that  affect the patient — for example a notice that lets a nurse know that the patient is at a high risk of falling, or a tab that alerts the nurse to check the patient’s records for allergies.
    The goal is to make people, who are having a bad time, as comfortable as possible.
    There is a brand-new family waiting area on the surgical floor. This includes a soft sofa, comfortable chairs and lighting that can be either subdued or bright. There is fresh coffee at all times and a refrigerator that family members can use to store snacks. One special feature is a wide-screen video monitor that displays information on where the patient is at all times during the process. The idea is to make family members as comfortable as possible, and keep them updated, as a loved one goes through surgery.
    “We take care of family,” Jurkus said.
    There is a new nursing station on the floor.
    “It changed the flow of work,” said Moira Hargis, the unit manager.
    The renovation has also included new employees. The hospital has added staff on the floor.
    “People want to work here,” Jurkus said. This makes recruiting easier.
    Jurkus said they are now renovating surgical areas. This is a $100,000 facelift.
    “It’s basically cosmetic because we already have state of the art equipment,” Jurkus said.
    The next major project will be a $1 million renovation of the emergency department. Jurkus said this will reconfigure the department, providing better patient flow through the emergency room and prepare the way for an expansion of the department.
    “That will involve construction,” Jurkus said.
    A new feature of the department will be triage staffed by a nurse. This allows them to make sure the most critical patients coming in — somebody having a heart attack, for example — get treated fast.
    The cafeteria, open to staff and patients’ family members, has been totally renovated and efforts have been made to provide food that tastes good and is healthy. There is a regular menu of each meal and items that can be made to order. Right now, there is Halloween art from Forest Middle School students in the hall outside the cafeteria and windows in the cafeteria dining room make it visible to people having a meal.
    “In the morning, they make fresh muffins,” Jurkus noted.
    Food served to patients has undergone the same upgrade and they have options in addition to what’s on the regular menu.
    Another area of progress at Bedford Memorial has come on Falling Creek Road. The hospital took the former Bedford House under its wing, bringing this facility back to life after changes in state rules, made as this community financed hospice house was under construction, made it impossible to operate as a stand alone hospice house.
    Now renamed Bedford Hospice House, the hospice house now has its license.
    “We have two more nurses to hire and we are ready,” said Jurkus.
    Jurkus said they are looking for two licensed practical nurses (LPN). She added that Centra will help LPNs work toward becoming registered nurses (RN).