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Obici prepares to open new wing

Sentara is keeping up with the growth of Suffolk and is nearly ready to open the newest addition to its facility.

Contingent on the approval of state inspectors who are expected at Sentara in the next week or so, inpatient care units from the second and third floors will be moved into the newly constructed 63,480 square foot bed tower at the backside of the hospital.

“The needs of our patients and inpatient bed availability for the western Tidewater community were the driving forces behind the new addition that got under way in August 2008,” Phyllis Stoneburner, vice president of patient care services, said during a recent tour of the new facility. “The goal is to improve care and access for Sentara Obici Hospital patients and the surrounding community, which is expected to grow 10 percent by 2014.”

The addition includes a lower level for orthopedic and surgical services, complete with a rehabilitation area.

In addition to traditional rehabilitation equipment, the area has a stove, refrigerator, oven and other kitchen appliances.

“Most patients have to wait to go home to get to that point of rehab, but here we can prepare them for home life before they get there,” said Diane Benton, unit manager for the lower level.

The second level will accommodate patients coming from the intensive care unit and emergency department and has special touches to allow nurses to better monitor the high-acuity patients.

There are windows with mechanical blinds that are operable from the outside, so nurses can check on patients without disturbing them, and remote monitoring systems are set up at the main nurses’ station and the two subsidiary stations, so nurses can view a patient’s cardiac rhythms and other statistics without having to consult the central surveillance department.

“Normally, the technician would have to tell our nurses the state of a patient, but now they can just look at the screens,” said Kelly Poloresco, unit manager for the floor. “It’s much more efficient and timely.”

The floor also will be equipped with its own training facility and classroom.

The patient rooms are equipped with fold-out couches to accommodate visitors, remote controls at the couch and bed for the patient and visitors, a couch speaker so a visitor can listen to the television at a volume that wouldn’t disturb the sleep of the patient, and bathrooms with plenty of rails that can be extended from the walls and a shower without any ledges for patients to climb over.

Both levels contain three waiting areas for families with phones, private rooms for family consultations, refreshment areas and two additional nurses’ stations.

“The importance of input and feedback from the staff, physicians, former patients and family members has been invaluable,” Stoneburner said. “The result is larger rooms by about 20 percent and improved family spaces. Building on our culture of safety, we’ve integrated patient safety features into the patient room and brought services closer to the patients, so recovery and healing can occur without leaving the patient care unit.”