Hospital patients to stay in brighter rooms

Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Apr 13, 2011 - 02:15 PM

Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester is in the beginning stages of a $1.2 million project that will fully renovate its inpatient rooms. The renovation in the south wing of the building is the first step in achieving the hospital’s master plan for a full facelift, according to Gaynor Callis, director of nursing.

The rooms, designed by James River Architects, PC, of Newport News, will have new flooring, tile and ceilings, and brighter paint. All pipes and plumbing features will be replaced, including complete renovation of each room’s bathroom facilities. Spain Commercial, Inc., of Yorktown, is completing the construction work.

The staff designed aspects of the rooms to make for better patient mobility, Callis added. "We had to ensure the various pieces of the rooms are workable for patients and staff; and are sturdy and safe," she said.

Hospital staff visited with patients for months prior to the renovation plans, asking them what they would like to see in the rooms. The majority of patients commented, Callis said, that the rooms look very outdated. Patients also said they felt the color schemes were somewhat sad as opposed to the new design, which is much more cheerful. "It’s the difference between being rainy outside versus sunny," Callis added.

Patients also requested two televisions in shared rooms with two pillow speakers as opposed to a shared television set. Easier-to-use bulletin boards were also requested so patients could be regularly updated as to who is treating them on any given day.

Kathleen Flane, a patient who is currently being treated in one of the newly renovated rooms, said she feels like she is in a "resort" compared to many of the hospitals she has visited in her home state of New York. "If I had to be sick, this is the place to be," she added.

The goal is to have the 30 rooms complete by March of 2012, according to Megan Moore, hospital administrator. The work includes 22 semi-private and eight private rooms. She also said a goal of the master plan is to have all private rooms.