Walter Reed holds ribbon cutting for new Intensive Care Unit

Bill Nachman - Posted on Dec 26, 2012 - 12:22 PM

Riverside Walter Reed Hospital is now equipped to handle more patients needing intensive care.

A private ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Dec. 18 to open the hospital’s new Intensive Care Unit built to the rear of the facility, which administrator Megan Kleckner said will accept its first patients on Jan. 8. In the meantime, all of the unit’s equipment and supplies will be checked to make sure everything is ready for the patients.

During the ceremony for about 75 invited guests with hospital, county government and business ties, Kleckner said the ICU has been enlarged from 3,000 to 12,000 square feet. The unit has added an eighth patient room, with two of the ICU rooms having special equipment for obese patients.

Each of the ICU rooms has full access to electronic medical records for the patients, said Peter Glagola, director of public relations for Riverside Health System, Walter Reed’s parent company, and has technologically advanced patient monitoring and lavatories. Also, each room has some comfortable furniture to accommodate visitors, a flat-screen television, and special cabinets to hold sheets and other frequently-needed items for patient care.

Kleckner said the project included transitioning four other rooms into "acuity adaptable" rooms that are designed so that patients who need more attention during their hospital stay can remain in their room instead of having to be transferred.

The project added a new patient transportation corridor designed to enhance patient flow and privacy, said Shannon Fedors, marketing director for Walter Reed.

Overall, Fedors said the project increased the hospital’s ability and capacity to care for patients with higher need levels, enabling more patients to remain close to home care.

"We will now be able to accommodate up to 12, reducing the need to transfer members of our community to other facilities," Kleckner said.

In addition, the ICU features the new J. Doswell Dutton Family Center, which Kleckner said was opened recently with a generous bequest by the late J. Doswell Dutton, a Gloucester businessman and volunteer at Walter Reed, supported by a tremendous outpouring of support from the community. Several Dutton family members attended the ribbon-cutting.

The center will provide a homelike atmosphere with comfortable, convenient accommodations for families to stay close to loved ones in the hospital for extended periods of time, Fedors said. The 900-square-foot center includes a kitchenette, full bathroom with shower, and comfy furniture facing a fireplace.

The renovation also included the relocation of the hospital chapel to be readily accessible to families visiting the family care center. The center, she said, was made possible by a $100,000 gift from Dutton that was matched by another $100,000 in donations from local businesses and individuals in the hospital’s service area.