Chambersburg Hospital addition caters to patient

John Massimilla, vice president and chief operating officer of Chambersburg Hospital, explains features of a staff work area during a media preview tour of the new addition. The first patients to be served in the King Street Addition will be transferred from the old wing on Dec. 8. Crews are putting the finishing touches on the exterior and interior of the $100 million project.

Private rooms, flat screen TVs, WiFi, still life photography and original artwork, personal bathrooms, extra sleeping accommodations, a peaceful atmosphere. Not the features of an upscale hotel, but rather the amenities provided to every patient at Chambersburg Hospital. With the King Street Addition just completed, all 171 patient rooms were designed with the ill or injured occupant in mind. Hospital administrators and staff opened the doors of the addition to the public last week to show off the $100 million project. During the two years of construction, there was no disruption to admitted patients.

"This building focused on patient rooms," said John Massimilla, vice president for administration and chief operating officer. "The enthusiasm of the staff - it's hard to bottle up. They're excited to move over here."

Each room is double the size of those in the old wing, to allow room for families to visit and stay overnight. A nurse's station with a window is positioned between every two rooms, so patients can be monitored without being interrupted. Patients have a remote control to call nurses with specific requests, and the appropriate person will respond. Each room has a computer and wireless scanner to record and administer medical care with the utmost of safeguards. Exam lights directly above the bed can be adjusted as needed, and several rooms contain a ceiling lift to help patients out of bed.

"We're blessed with larger critical care space," said Teresa Napier, nurse manager. "The patients can see their loved ones. They do rest easier and healing time improves. It's the home feeling we're going for."

Massimilla said they built a mock room before building the unit. Nurses and physicians gave input, which was helpful in determining the layout to best serve the patient. The hospital encourages family involvement in care. And the intent with the single rooms was noise reduction, comfort, and safety, with a reduced risk of infections.

Hospitalist Dr. Sanjay Dhar explained that the patient/doctor relationship also benefits. "Now I can sit with the patients at eye level and not be rushed. That makes a huge difference in their experience."

The cath lab is on ground level. Critical care is on the first floor and progressive care on the second. The third is for medical and surgical recovery.

Cath labs

The expanded Heart Care Suite contains three cardiac catheterization labs. Two have GE Innova IGS 520 systems, and only 10 exist in the United States.

"This is the best in the market at this point," said interventional cardiologist Dr. Aylmer Tang. "We're pretty proud of what we've got."

The hospital performs up to 1,600 catheterizations a year, and the equipment needed to be replaced due to normal wear and tear, he said.

The hospital reported that the recommended time to open a blocked artery was 90 minutes from arrival at the facility, but Chambersburg usually did it in under 60 minutes.

Key facts

King Street Addition has 171 rooms.

Hospital bed count remains at 240.

People can enter through the current main entrance at 112 N. Seventh Street, or the new entrance at North Seventh and King streets. The two wings are connected.

The classic wing will keep behavioral health, maternity, pediatrics and inpatient rehabilitation. Outpatient services and surgery will also stay there.

Half of the patients will be transferred to the new addition on Dec. 8, the other half on Dec. 15.