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BWWMH changes name to Whitfield Regional Hospital

Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital will now be known as Whitfield Regional Hospital, moving away from its name of 66 years to reflect the hospital’s service area, facilities and level of care.

CEO Doug Brewer said multiple focus groups were included in the change, representing local community leaders, the hospital’s board of directors and professionals at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The name change was introduced to reflect the hospital’s services and facilities, both new and upgraded, as well as the region that it covers. According to Brewer, Whitfield Regional is the site of some services that are not being provided anywhere else within a 50-mile radius.

“Late last year, as we began adding more and more clinical services in our work with UAB, it became more apparent to change our name to reflect the level hospital we have become and the geographical area we cover,” he said.

The services that called for a name change largely came to the hospital following its partnership with UAB, such as telehealth services, hospitalists and a Linden clinic.

NEW TELEHEALTH

SERVICES

Telehealth has enabled Whitfield Regional to become a Level 3 Stroke Center in May 2018, and now has brought patients access to specialists in nephrology and critical care pulmonology with support from Whitfield Regional’s nursing and hospitalist staff.

Telehealth will also provide a way for hospitalists, nursing staff and UAB specialists to work together to provide the type of specialized care that patients are typically transferred out of Whitfield Regional to receive.

“On the other end of that telehealth system are what we know for sure to be some of the best doctors in the world,” Brewer said.

Patients in the care of a critical care pulmonologist and hospitalist will have access to care 24/7 and will see the hospitalist/pulmonologist team once a day, and their status will be followed daily. A nephrologist will also see patients via telehealth in the same matter as a critical care pulmonologist, though on a less intense schedule, and their status will also be followed daily by the nephrologist and supporting staff.

DIALYSIS

With the addition of nephrology via telehealth, Whitfield Regional is now able to provide dialysis services, something that Brewer said was especially important due to the high rate of diabetes in the hospital’s service area.

“It’s highly likely that we have a lot of renal patients here, and now we can actually provide care for those patients for their comorbidities,” he said.

As with all telehealth services that the hospital offers, hospitalists and nursing staff will consult with a UAB nephrologist for care for renal patients and other patients that would benefit from dialysis services.

There are currently two machines available and dialysis will be overseen by a certified nurse via telehealth.

WOUND CARE CLINIC

Patients with wounds requiring specialized treatment, whether related to surgery or an accident, are now able to participate in treatment at Whitfield Regional’s Wound Care Center, led by a director of wound care, a nurse practitioner and a certified wound care nurse.

Typically, a wound warranting the use of specialized care takes 10 visits to heal while participating in four-hour clinics during treatment. The center will be in operation Monday-Friday and, to begin with, will schedule three to four clinics per week, accepting up to 20 patients per clinic. The schedule will vary based on patients’ availability.

By partnering with Healogics, a provider for advanced wound care services, Whitfield Regional will not have to take time building the clinic and the services up over time.

“We’ll be using they’re clinical protocols, they’re treatment protocols, so it’s not just us starting from scratch. We truly will have a world class wound care center from day one,” Brewer said.

RURAL HEALTH CLINIC

A clinic in Linden will open its doors in mid-late August, staffed with a nurse practitioner, nurse, medical assistant and administrative assistant. The clinic will be under the supervision of a general surgeon as well.

The clinic draws on Brewer and the hospital’s goal of making healthcare as accessible as possible and doing more to improve the overall health of the community.

“Our goal is to provide healthcare and healthcare education in the county,” he said.

Along with the clinic, the community will also see more health education.

Brewer said he would like to continue adding rural health clinics throughout the hospital’s service area and to add telehealth and other specialty services to the Linden clinic.

The clinic will be open Monday-Friday with three exam rooms and will be located at 1007 S. Main St. The operation hours are still being determined.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, August 7 issue of the Demopolis Times.)

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