Oh, baby | PostIndependent.com

Oh, baby

Post Independent/Kara K. PearsonMargo Dunn, right, massages Shaunna Wilskys back and neck during a public tour of the new addition at Valley View Hospital Saturday. Dunn is a massage therapist who works in the hospitals Integrated Therapies Department. The hospital was hosting an open house in conjunction with several other events to celebrate the new addition.

Don’t be surprised if Glenwood Springs sees a baby boom in the next few years.Couples touring the expanded Valley View Hospital Saturday may be getting ideas after visiting the comfy quarters in the new Family Birthplace.”Where was this when we were having kids?” Tom Green, of Rifle, asked as he and his wife, Jean, had a look at the facilities available to delivering moms and their families.Private rooms for recovering moms and new dads, complete with Internet access, flat-screen TVs and even Jacuzzis, made quite an impression, particularly on those who have had experience with Valley View’s previous maternity ward.The Greens have had two grandchildren born there. Jean Green said she spent a night in the hospital after one of them was delivered, and the new facilities are a major improvement.”But the care that they gave was always excellent,” she said.

Tom Green said he already has undergone magnetic resonance imaging with the hospital’s new MRI machine, and it’s quieter than the old one.Jean agreed. “The other one sounded like you were in a drain pipe with a jackhammer,” she said.The Greens joined about 1,000 people Saturday in taking the tours. For some – if they’re lucky – it will be the only chance to see some of the new accommodations. Privacy and security rules limit many areas to patients and their visitors.”It’s really wonderful that they were interested enough to see it when they’re well,” hospital spokesperson Becky Young said of Saturday’s visitors. “No one ever wants to visit the hospital.”Those who stopped by Saturday were treated to a barbecue and free pink water bottles. They also got to see nurses and other hospital employees serve in the unfamiliar role of tour guide.As Joetta Nieslanik, a maternity ward secretary, showed off the spotless quarters of the Family Birthplace, her audience included a co-worker, Kathy Wren, who is a surgical supply technician.

“I wanted to see it new just like everybody else,” said Wren.She marveled at an operating room in the maternity ward.”I can’t believe how big it is. I wonder if our other ORs will be that big,” she said.The hospital has been busy giving tours not only to potential patients, but to employees and volunteers who will be spending a lot of time in the new facilities.A potential new hospital volunteer also went along on Nieslanik’s tour. Dallas Groves said she toured the hospital at Wren’s urging.”I said, well, I’m thinking about volunteering so I might as well come and see what they have,” she said.

What she and other visitors saw were some of the highlights of a $30 million, two-story addition that adds 160,000 square feet to the hospital. Besides the birthplace, the new wing includes the emergency room area; an imaging department with X-ray machines and MRI and CT scanning equipment; and respiratory therapy facilities.Phase two of the construction project will begin this fall with expansion of the surgery department and radiology.Even as visitors got a look at what’s new at Valley View, a slide show in the new lobby paid tribute to what’s old, depicting the hospital’s 50-year history and paying tribute to the many people who have been a part of it.”You don’t get from the ’50s to here without a lot of people putting a whole lot into it,” Young said.The hospital will celebrate its anniversary in September.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com

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