by Terry Rogers
On Friday, January 18, Bayhealth Sussex Campus held an open house for legislators, public officials and the media, providing tours of the new facility which is scheduled to officially open on February 5. The new hospital has 128 private patient rooms, dedicated trauma rooms and a completely revamped emergency department. All areas of the new building were designed with input from the public as well as doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers.
“Today is truly exciting,” Terry Murphy President and CEO of Bayhealth, said. “Four years ago we asked the community to imagine what we could do here in healthcare. I am so pleased because today, as we bring you through on tours, we will be able to show you what the community, nurses, doctors and caregivers created that will be a gem in the state of Delaware.”
The new Bayhealth campus was a $314 million investment in Sussex County. Murphy explained that, when they began the project, they had a goal to have at least 50 percent of the materials and 50 percent of the workforce be from Delaware. Murphy announced at the open house that 52 percent of the materials and 53 percent of the 1,850 member team that worked on the project were from Delaware.
The new hospital has a significant amount of natural light which has been shown to improve healing. Outpatient services will no longer require a walk up a long ramp, around a corner, down a long hall, turning right and left, Murphy said. Now, patients enter the door and go directly to the elevator. All rooms are designed exactly the same with the beds in the same position in each room. Each room has a recliner to encourage patients to become mobile as well as a sofa with a table in the center to provide a place for visitors to work or eat. The table folds into the sofa, allowing it to convert to a bed for family members who want to remain with a patient overnight.
After remarks, tours were provided with visitors able to view patient rooms, the operating rooms, trauma rooms and physical rehabilitation. There are six standardized operating rooms and one has been outfitted to accommodate robotic surgery. Separate elevators move clean and soiled items directly to the central sterile location. The Physical Therapy department has large windows with exercise equipment facing the windows. One staff member commented that on a clear day, it is possible to see the Delaware Bay in the distance.
In the Emergency Department, ambulances access the hospital separately from walk-in patients, allowing a trauma patient to be transported into the new, state-of-the-art trauma rooms more quickly. There are also rooms in the department for patients who are not well enough for discharge but not for admission to receive medications and treatment for up to 24 hours. This allows doctors and nurses to monitor them to see if they improve enough to go home or if they will need to be admitted for additional treatment.
“My family have been patients in Milford Memorial Hospital,” Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall Long said. “I have walked the halls of that hospital and I have also walked the halls of the hospital as a nurse. I can’t tell you how many nights as a clinical nurse and places I have been that I scratched my head and said, “they did not lay that room out correctly, I have to go to the other end of the hall.” What I am excited about and what I was asked to highlight is that healthcare providers came together to lay this out. Maybe you don’t think about the little things, but they make a difference. Believe it or not, they had about 150 people come and pilot the furniture. That is what is awesome about Bayhealth, they really make a difference in the state.”
U.S. Senator Tom Carper pointed out that completing a project of this magnitude required a lot of talented people. He explained that healthcare is an important part of a high quality of life.
“In the State of Delaware, what we have here with the completion of this facility, we are providing quality of life,” Senator Carper said. “There is a need for quality healthcare. This project is giving people access to healthcare and to help them afford it. This hospital is a great achievement. It is a promise that we are creating a better quality of life.”
U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester was excited by the fact that the hospital was built around the community. She pointed out that there were tensions throughout the country, but the Bayhealth campus was an example of how a collection of people could come together and achieve something designed for and by the community.
“You should be very proud of everything that is happening here, from the new hospital, the wellness village, the Nemours campus,” Governor John Carney said. “The fact that over 50 percent of the businesses that did the work on this project were from Delaware is a big reason our economy has grown so strongly over the past two years. You are not going to attract a strong workforce without strong healthcare. The number one thing companies look for when they choose a location is the quality of the workforce and the quality of the workforce is connected to education, higher education and facilities like this. This is a big deal and you did it right. And because you did it right, it is going to be a huge catalyst for this part of the state.”
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