An investment enhances quality care for one community

Nurse Leader Insider, June 18, 2007

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By focusing on the needs of patients and nurses, Alegent Health Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs, IA, believed that it could enhance its care-delivery process to the community.

The nonprofit, faith-based care hospital serves an area of more than 200,000 people in southwest Iowa. As the community continues to grow, so too does the demand for healthcare services and resources at Alegent.

"Our community views us as a ventricle for their healthcare, and healthcare is a pretty important component for when businesses are trying to recruit people into their business and recruit other businesses into the community," says Connie Blietz, RN, BSN, MBA, CNA, BC, chief nurse executive.

Alegent conducted a yearlong initiative involving physicians, staff members, patients, and the community in identifying ways in which the organization could meet the community's increased demands for healthcare today and in the future, while building on it's commitment to faith-based care and providing quality services and resources. After reviewing the results from those involved in the initiative, the hospital decided to invest $27 million to increase the capacity of the ICU, upgrade ORs, and improve the hospital's infrastructure.

"The expansion is about recruitment of physicians, facility and technology enhancement, and program and service development," says Marie Knedler, vice president and chief operating officer. "Because of these three initiatives, Alegent will be able to serve a greater population of patients and the community."

Renovation improvements
The renovation part of the initiative is taking place primarily on the second and fourth floors, where patient rooms are being converted from double to private rooms, and nurses stations are being moved from the center of the floors to the wings to put nurses closer to patients. Other improvements include:

  • Renovating the ICU and adding four more beds for a total of 16 available ICU beds.
  • Reconfiguring and expanding the surgical area to include the latest technology in the OR suites. Patient preparation and recovery stations also will be added to improve patient comfort and monitoring before and after surgery.
  • Improving and adding onto entryways to provide convenient access and a welcoming feel for patients, their families, and community visitors.
  • Adding 40 parking spaces to serve outpatients visiting the hospital's ambulatory services center.
  • Improving the energy efficiency and mechanical functions of the building. These infrastructure improvements include upgrades to plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilations, and air conditioning systems.

Source: HCPro's Advisor to the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®, June 2007, HCPro, Inc.

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