Rifle’s Grand River Hospital expands surgery wing
Those in Rifle who need a knee replacement, gallbladder removal or other surgical procedure now have a shorter wait should they elect to stay close to home for the operation.
Grand River Health recently completed an expansion and overhaul of its surgery center at the Rifle hospital, taking the number of operating rooms from two to a total of four, along with a procedure room for less invasive procedures, such as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD as it’s more commonly known.
“It is state of the art,” Kelly Hilgers, interim director of perioperative services at Grand River Health, said of the new space. “You’re not going to find better equipment and more importantly you’re not going to find better services provided by better nurses, better doctors and better (anesthesiologists),” she added before recognizing other team members.
The surgery center, which was on display last Thursday during a well-attended open house event, is the most recent of $20 million in capital projects at the Rifle hospital over the past two years.
In 2015 Grand River finished the third floor of the building, which had been vacant since it was constructed in the 2008 build out. The third floor allowed for the expansion of women’s health services and the addition of other services such as dermatology.
This year a remodel of the hospital’s emergency department was completed, with the intent of improving security and patient flow. Grand River was awarded a $250,000 Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District grant in 2014 to help fund the remodel. Grand River also completed a remodel of its diagnostic imaging and the cardiopulmonary and sleep center, as well as the changing lifestyles department.
The surgery center broke ground in the spring of 2015. In total, it involved expanding the space by 11,000 square feet, while remodeling an existing 11,500. Early in the process, Grand River continued performing surgeries in the old operating rooms. When two of the four new rooms were completed, the team transitioned over the course of a weekend, which also involved learning how to use the new state of the art equipment, according to Hilgers.
Add to that the fact the emergency department remodel was still going on when work on the surgery center started, and things were a bit chaotic at times.
Communication with every member of the hospital staff, from physicians and department heads to the CEO, was crucial during that process, said Annick Pruett, administrative and community relations director for Grand River Health.
“That was the biggest key — engaging the entire staff,” she said.
The expansion of the surgery center comes as patient demand continues to rise. According to annual community reports released by the hospital district, the number of surgeries performed by Grand River has increased from 1,506 in 2013 to 1,879 in 2015.
Grand River also has added more than a dozen surgeons and specialists, and the previous amount of space was simply not enough to meet the demand. The added rooms mean patients will not have to wait as long for procedures.
“We can get patients through the system a little bit faster so then they’re happier they don’t have to wait so long to have a surgery,” Hilgers explained.
The space is much more accommodating for physicians, but more importantly, it provides patients with an added sense of comfort and privacy, Hilgers said.
“Before the rooms were just a curtain, and so these are individual, private rooms that patients can just recover without having to hear the conversation next door,” she said.
Not to be lost, the project also included an expansion of the pharmacy and the addition of a new infusion center, which will allow cancer patients to receive chemotherapy at the hospital, among other treatments. That’s a big deal, said Tim Hohon, an emergency room nurse who transitioned to the new infusion center
“When you’re dealing with a cancer patient it’s just a total different aspect to health care,” Hohon said. “Your folks … I mean there’s so many things going on in their life, more than just the physical aspect of the cancer, so anything we can do to help service them is a big deal. It’s a big deal for me … to have the opportunity to be here.”
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