Leaders at East Adams Rural Hospital in Ritzville started talking about remodeling the hospital 20 years ago. The building, originally constructed in 1952, was out of date, in need of a new electrical system and a fire sprinkler system for safety. Plus, it was built using asbestos, which is now known to be highly dangerous if inhaled.
Three years ago, hospital leaders took action on what they had talked about for so long, launching a project that would make the hospital safer and improve the patient experience. The hospital is now wrapping up work on construction, and it invited the public for an open house March 30, bringing in more than 150 members of the community to see the newly redesigned facility.
The hospital kept its original exterior, but reconfigured and updated most of the interior, adding new services — like ultrasounds — and moving existing, related services closer together to make care more efficient. The hospital also built a new clinic, installed a new security system and added a helicopter landing pad, allowing patients to more quickly be transferred to a larger facility for more intense care. Each patient room now has its own private bathroom and shower, allowing for more comfort and ease. The new halls are lined with local artwork, sharing the spirit of the Eastern Washington community.
Construction was done in phases to keep the hospital operating, but it did involve a lot of shuffling of equipment and services to get the job done, with many departments temporarily sharing space. The only piece of equipment that didn’t move was the CT scanner, which remained in place while construction took place around it.
“If you’d see the difference between then and now, it’s like night and day,” East Adams Rural Healthcare CEO Gary Bostrom said. “We’ve increased security as well as comfort.”
Upgrades like these both improve care for patients and serve as a reminder of what hospitals are to a community: a place where help is available whenever it is needed. (Tim Pfarr)