Whitfield Regional Hospital unveils newly renovated ICU
Whitfield Regional Hospital unveiled its newly renovated Intensive Care Unit last Thursday, April 15. Hospital staff and community members gathered together for the ribbon cutting in the ICU lobby.
The new ICU has been expanded to eight beds, and each room is now a negative pressure room. Negative pressure rooms, also referred to as isolation rooms, are used to isolate patients with contagious illnesses like COVID-19.
“In an infectious disease scenario like COVID-19, it’s a very safe unit now because each room has its own controlled air pressure,” said Whitfield CEO Doug Brewer.
Brewer said it had been his dream to remodel the ICU because they needed more resources available to treat patients.
The new unit has had several new features added to it, such as new monitor systems, new beds, new ventilator and IV pumps. Each room will also have cameras set up to allow doctors at UAB to consult patients and Whitfield staff remotely.
Brewer said that the biggest thing the ICU will have going for it is the relationship with UAB Hospital in Birmingham. Whitfield and UAB have mutually agreed to work together with telemedicine, and Whitfield will become the first external tele-ICU in Alabama.
“It will be operated 24/7, and UAB Intensivists will monitor all patients. Equipment has been installed that will allow UAB to see the patients, view their vital signs, and communicate with our nurses,” said Brewer. “They will also be able to review charts remotely so they can effectively manage and help our patients get better quicker.”
Brewer said the new ICU will take patient care to a new level and allow for quicker and better treatment.
“It improves the speed in which patients are treated. It provides excellent expertise and a world-class experience for our ICU patients,” said Brewer.
Brewer also thinks the improved ICU and partnership with UAB will provide support to their nurses and hospitalists.
“Being able to work alongside some of the best clinicians in the world is an ongoing learning experience,” said Brewer. “What I think we’re going to see in this ICU is it will raise the level of our ICU nurses. They will be working alongside some of the best ICU nurses and intensivists in the country. It will raise our ability to do a better job for our patients.”
Other projects in the works for Whitfield include a $5,000,000 renovation that will begin at the end of April. The renovation will cover the main entrance of the hospital as well as the emergency room. The main entrance will temporarily close while the hospital brings the same furnishings as the ICU.
Renovations will continue through the elevator lobby, Lab and Radiology, and finally, the emergency room that will be redesigned and expanded.
Brewer also said that within the next 30 to 90 days, the hospital will begin a $2.4 million power plant improvement. The hospital will remove its old boilers and replace them with a turbine electric system that will save Whitfield around 20 to 30 percent in utility costs.
The ICU should be fully operational by May 1.