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CAMC-Teays Valley unveils new ICU

Chip Ellis
Infusion patient Jo Cooper tours one of 10 private room in the new intensive care unit at CAMC-Teays Valley with her nurse, ambulatory infusionist Agnes Stiltner.
Chip Ellis CAMC-Teays Valley staff members Hazel Smith (left), Julie Mallory and Tonya Joyce (right) tour the hospital's new ICU Thursday morning.
Chip Ellis CAMC-Teays Valley administrator Randy Hodges (left), and staff members Malina Burdette, Kelly Stull and Wanda Marks inspect the nurses' station in the hospital's brand-new ICU.
Chip Ellis Medical staff members get their first peek of the new ICU at CAMC-Teays Valley Thursday morning.

TEAYS VALLEY, W.Va. -- Nurses and hospital staff gathered in a new hallway Thursday morning in the Charleston Area Medical Center-Teays Valley Hospital and looked expectantly at the double doors that led to the hospital's brand-new, state-of-the-art intensive care unit.

"I'm going to let Missy Nichols open the doors for the first time," said CAMC-Teays Valley administrator Randy Hodges. Nichols, director of the ICU, led the way into the unit for the first glimpses of an effort that has been under construction for more than a year and marks the latest addition to the hospital's expansion effort.

"For our employees, our medical staff and for everyone who uses this facility, this is really the next step in a journey that started in November of 2006, when CAMC purchased the facility," Hodges said. "At that time, the commitment was made to put the dollars into this facility and to bring in sub-specialists the hospital didn't have."

CAMC has invested $10 million in new equipment alone since taking over operations in 2006, and the 30-year-old hospital has seen a number of changes since it became a CAMC-affiliated facility: In the past year, the hospital has introduced urology services, neurology services, a full-time pain clinic and hyperbaric chambers. Its next step will be toward an expansion of the facility's surgical services. Hodges said CAMC-Teays Valley hopes to expand the support space for its surgical department in 2014, which would utilize the space vacated by the old ICU.

"Our goal has been to upgrade this facility to have state-of-the-art equipment, state-of-the-art facilities and to increase the number of specialties that practice here," he said. "We'll be adding full-time oncology coverage in the next three months, so we have just about all of the sub-specialties you would need."

The new ICU boasts 10 large, private rooms, eight of which have been cleared for immediate use, with two more for future patient needs, Hodges said. The new space has a host of features that the staff had pointed to during several meetings with administrators, including direct access to the hospital's heli-pad, a nutrition-services station for meal preparation, a true isolation room and two more rooms specially equipped for dialysis patients.

The patient rooms line the walls along a long, central nurses' station. According to Nichols, the ICU has a 2-to-1 nurse-to-patient ratio at all times, and the design of the unit will allow the staff a view of every patient.

For Nichols, who has worked in the ICU for 10 years, the most pivotal change for the unit is its larger, private rooms.

"For the patients, it will allow their family to stay with them 24/7," she said. "It will also be much quieter, which will help with healing and allow them to get the rest that they need -- whereas, with two patients, we may be working with one while the other is trying to sleep, so it made it very difficult."

Nichols said the new rooms also will allow the unit to keep all of its beds open. In the past, a patient with a communicable infection would need to be quarantined in a room and, with four double-rooms with eight beds, the old ICU was ill-equipped to handle such a situation, she said.

"One of the main points is the private rooms, which create an atmosphere with a single patient in a room and decreases the risk of spreading infection to other patients," said Sara Spencer, the hospital's infection-control nurse. "That's one of the biggest things about having these private rooms -- that risk is greatly decreased."

According to Spencer, there are nearly 50 hand-sanitizer stations in the ICU, with four in each room, as well as several in the nurses' station and waiting area. Another feature of the new ICU is its break room, which Spencer said is a welcome addition for nurses who spend a large part of their time in the ICU, one of the hospital's more tasking units.

"I'm an old ICU nurse from years ago, so it's nice to have a little place to get out of the way and just take a break," she said. "ICU is kind of high pressure, and it can be stressful."

In addition to the 10 ICU beds, CAMC-Teays Valley has 66 patient beds and employs more than 100 doctors and nearly 400 nurses and clinical staff. For more information, visit www.camc.org/tvh.

Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nuzum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.


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