One of the leading complaints I’ve heard (and I’ve probably even complained about as well) over the years about our local hospital is the overall appearance of the facility.
However, that is a complaint that would now be difficult to justify. The appearance is improving immensely and rapidly.
Last week I had a meeting with Appling HealthCare’s CEO Ray Leadbetter. During the meeting he mentioned a number of renovation projects that have been completed not just on the outside of the facility, but also on the inside of the hospital. I must admit it has been months since I actually walked the hallways in the facility. As we concluded our meeting, Leadbetter offered to take me around the facility to see some of the renovations. I jumped at the opportunity. On our way from the administration building to the hospital we met with Director of Operations and Safety for Appling HealthCare Brian Westberry, who joined us on the tour.
As you enter the hospital portion of the health care system some of the first things you will notice include new flooring throughout the facility, freshly painted walls and new furnishings in certain areas. The first stop on the tour Leadbetter and Westberry showed me was a construction area in the hospital patient wing. As I looked at the totally gutted room, down to block walls, exposed ceiling and concrete floor, the duo explained to me the changes that will be made to all patient rooms in the coming months. Upon completion the rooms will have new state of the art communications that will actually track patient care, larger bathrooms, higher ceilings, HVAC improvements and new furnishings just to name a few of the improvements.
Next we looked at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) area. I’ve personally visited this area over the years while visiting family members who stayed in the unit; it was cramped and patient privacy was nonexistent. Today that has changed for the better as the totally renovated area has more space, enough to even add an additional bed, and patient privacy has certainly improved with portable partitions that are now available between patient beds. Leadbetter stated that eventually the health care system would like to build a new ICU area where the old Labor and Delivery wing was located that should provide even better patient privacy and care.
The remainder of the tour included viewing new waiting room areas that have been expanded and updated to provide better comfort for visitors, improved Radiology and Respiratory departments, the new MRI area with a new wide-bore MRI, a look at new infrastructure which included better equipment for heating and air throughout the facility and hot water supply, and many other needed improvements.
It was amazing to see just how many changes have been made at the hospital. As we toured areas throughout the facility you could hear the excitement about the improvements in the voices of staff members as they talked about the improvements. Something else that caught my attention was watching CEO Leadbetter when he thought no one else was looking. I witnessed Leadbetter, on multiple occasions, picking up what appeared to be pieces of trash off the floor in hallways or in offices as we walked around the facility. I wonder how many other hospital CEOs would pick up trash off the floor?
If you haven’t been to the hospital lately, I’m confident you will be surprised the next time you do visit. I know I certainly was.