After almost a year of work, a $700,000 renovation project at Guthrie County Hospital has reached its final stages.
Since construction started last June, the hospital has been in a process of transformation to increase space, add services and modernize the facility.
“We want to thank the community for their support, and their dollars,” said hospital CEO Patrick Peters. “People have made donations, (and) the hospital board (of trustees) would like to thank both the hospital foundation and the public for their financial support, and their moral support through the project. And for putting up with the inconvenience of the construction.”
As part of the project, an infusion suite was installed at the hospital. The room will be used to treat oncology patients needing intravenous chemotherapy, providing a local way to receive cancer treatment instead of traveling to Des Moines. Each of the three stations in it features its own chair, treatment equipment and TV, so that patients there for the lengthy procedures can pass the time as comfortably as possible.
“We’ve heard from the community that there is a need, we’ve heard from patients’ families that they would prefer to have their loved ones stay in town if possible because they are sick and they don’t feel well,” Peters said of the new space in a previous interview. “Sometimes the last thing they want is an hour drive to Des Moines, whereas they could get it right here in Guthrie County. It makes it more tolerable for the patient. It’s less traveling, less discomfort.”
Peters anticipates the oncology service will be up and running within a month. The infusion suite will also be used for general medical procedures, like blood transfusions and treatments for patients who have undergone kidney transplants.
New rooms were added to the specialty clinic portion of the hospital so additional services to be offered. Renovations created a fourth patient exam room and an extra office. The lobby area was also remodeled with new carpeting, paint and furniture. The extra space created an opening for psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner Megan Stukenholtz to begin providing services.
Although the hospital already had a negative air pressure area to handle highly infectious diseases, a specific room for it was created through the renovations. Two former rooms were combined into one for patients with diseases like tuberculosis, and a separate room for staff to gown up and decontaminate before and after treatment. The room is equipped with a system that prevents air that might contain contaminants from leaving, protecting other patients and hospital staff.
Other improvements like new flooring in the emergency department and automatic doors operated by a sensor leading into the hospital were also installed.
One of the biggest changes as a result of the project is the hospital’s main lobby, which has been expanded, redesigned, repainted and refurnished. Walls were removed to create a more open floor plan, and the walls were painted a welcoming blue. All that is left to do in the lobby is clean up the mess from construction, complete final electrical work and move in the new furniture. Peters anticipates the finishing touches will be completed within the next two weeks.
“I think (the renovations) give the community a sense of pride in their hospital,” Peters said. “Because of the improvements that have been made, it’s just a more modern, pleasantly aesthetic place. Warmer and welcoming I would say.”
An open house will be held the second week of May — with the official date yet to be determined — to welcome community members to the newly renovated hospital.