(Posted Jan. 23, 2019)
By Dedra Cordle, Staff Writer
A hospital isn’t usually a popular destination, yet hundreds of people made it a priority to visit Madison Health on Jan. 18.
“It was so important that we be here to witness this incredible event,” said London resident Diane Campbell.
The event was the grand opening ceremony and guided tours of the hospital’s $25 million, 26,000 square-foot expansion and renovation project.
Ever since plans for the expansion project were announced nearly three years ago, both the greater community and the staff at the hospital have waited for this moment.
“I heard the construction taking place every day, especially when I was in my office, and I smiled throughout the whole thing,” said Marcy Hawkins, a clinical informatics nurse at the hospital. “I think what helped get us through this noise and work was knowing how necessary this project was and how beneficial it will be for the community now and for decades to come.”
The grand opening festivities started around 3 p.m. with local meteorologist Jym Ganahl serving as emcee. After Ganahl’s opening remarks, hospital leaders thanked the community for rallying around the project.
“We couldn’t have done this without your help and support,” said Dana Engle, chief executive officer, adding that there is still work to be done.
“The project is not finalized yet,” he told the crowd. “We still have the wound care clinic which will open in the spring, the urgent care facility on Lafayette Street, and more medical office spaces to build.”
After the closing remarks, the staff led the community into the new emergency room department for a tour. One awe-struck citizen said it was beautiful, but joked they were not in a hurry to see it again.
The 16-bed, 13,000 square-foot emergency department is laid out in a square, with nurse stations at each corner.
“This will help us be able to keep our eyes on our patients at all times,” said resource nurse Erik Scheiderer, a former Mechanicsburg paramedic who has been working at the hospital for seven years. “It will also be helpful for the families who need to ask any questions or need any assistance.”
Scheiderer also pointed out the patient rooms, stating they were built with “breakaway panels” for emergency access and with privacy of patients and their families in mind.
“The way our previous facility was set up was not optimal for privacy,” he said. “Sometimes we would get people who were afraid to open up to us about their health or addictions because they knew they would be overheard. With these new rooms, it will offer our patients and their families the privacy they deserve.”
Other additions to the emergency department are an entrance and space specifically for EMS workers, a resuscitation room, a decontamination room and break rooms for staff.
“Our former break room was really cramped and right by the bathroom,” said Scheiderer. “These new rooms will offer us space and places to go when we need to reflect or want a quiet moment away.”
The new emergency department officially opened on Jan. 21.
Also included on the expansion’s ground level are new pre- and post-operation rooms and a waiting area for families of patients going through surgery.
The expansion’s second floor includes office space for medical specialists, examination rooms, and the hospital’s new cancer center.
Hawkins, who worked at Riverside Methodist Hospital for 15 years before joining the staff at Madison Health three years ago, said the new location of the cancer center will better serve patients.
“Where our patients would get their treatments prior to this expansion was on the other side of the hospital,” she said. “And if you’re going through something as taxing as cancer treatments, that is a long and tough walk for those in that state.”
The announcement of the expansion plans came at about the same time Hawkins started working at the hospital. She said that though she had not worked there long, she felt the excitement buzzing from the more veteran employees and it was contagious.
“We all want what it best for the people who come to this hospital,” she said, adding that she hopes the community will feel more assured in the quality of care they will receive with these new amenities.
“I think there is a misconception that you would get better care at bigger hospitals,” she said, “but that is not the case here. You can get quality care right here in your neighborhood.”
Jim Tunnell, a former cardiac nurse at Madison Health and a current resident of London who went on the tour, said he was impressed by what he saw.
“I think the community will be really proud [by what has occurred here],” he said.