The $32 million MDH expansion and renovation project by O'Shea Builders includes a three-story addition that has an emergency room, senior behavioral health unit, and rehabilitation center.
“It will provide a better space for our staff to work, a better environment, and most importantly it creates a better healing environment for our patients,” said Kenny Boyd, President and CEO of McDonough District Hospital.
The construction work began a little more than a year ago. The new rehabilitation center on the third floor and emergency room on the first floor are expected to open in mid-August. These are both existing services currently housed in the hospital's main building.
Boyd said the layout of the new ER will address current privacy concerns. Right now, patients receiving emergency care are only separated by hanging curtains. But the new ER will feature private exam rooms.
“Being in the hospital is an uncomfortable time and nerve racking time so sharing a room with somebody does not provide the best environment or the most relaxing environment,” Boyd said.
Boyd said the private rooms are safer for patients and help limit the possible spread of infections. The hospital is in the process of making private almost all of its patient rooms. Those renovations are expected to be complete early next year.
At that point, the only remaining shared and semi-private rooms will be in the obstetrics and gynecology wing of the hospital. Boyd said the hospital is working on a capital campaign to raise money to make those rooms private as well.
The senior behavioral health unit on the second floor will be the first of its kind in McDonough County. It will cater to people ages 65 and older who need short-term care after experiencing behavior or emotional symptoms associated with early dementia, anxiety, or depression.
Program Director Lori Steinbrecher said patients will spend about two weeks at the hospital learning coping strategies in order to improve their quality of life at home or in the nursing home.
“This isn’t a situation like on a medical unit where the patient would basically stay in the room all the time. That’s not the purpose of this unit at all,” Steinbrecher said. “We want them out and involved in group activities, recreational activities, learning to get back into that social network that they experienced.”
The 12 bed senior behavioral health unit begins accepting patients today on a preliminary basis, but the hospital still needs to receive Medicare accreditation before making all beds available.