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Hospital Preps For Tours
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After two years of construction, $90 million dollars, and thousands of man-hours spent, the new Oak Valley Hospital will be open to the public on Dec. 10 for community tours. The pre-opening will be a one-day only event, and the new hospital building will not be in use until early 2012.

The new Oak Valley Hospital building will be opening in stages, starting with the first floor. Hospital CEO John Friel toured the first floor of the building on Oct. 5 to check the progress of construction. Many areas of the first floor were near completion, and a few rooms were marked “finished.” The emergency department, one of the first areas of the new building that will be operational, is almost completely finished. The exam rooms and contamination rooms look ready to see patients at a moments’ notice.

“We’re basically ready for sharps containers and a gurney,” said David Martin, project manager with Jacobs Engineering.

The hospital tours will include the emergency department, medical laboratory, imaging/radiology, surgical services and materials management. These will be the first areas to see patients once the hospital receives final state licensing for relocation of services. New hospital building codes and safety procedures will make it impossible for non-patients to see some of these areas once the hospital is open.

“The general public can no longer access most areas of the hospital, for security reasons,” Martin said.

The emergency department of the new Oak Valley Hospital building will take over emergency room services once the hospital receives final licensing. The new emergency department includes 12 exam rooms, compared to eight at the current emergency department. There are also several negative pressure contamination rooms, which can be used to isolate patients in the case that contagious illness or contamination is suspected. The new ER also includes a much larger nurses’ station, new equipment, and bigger examination rooms. The old emergency room will be demolished once services are transferred to the new building, and there will be a ceremonial ribbon cutting in early spring, once the first floor of the hospital is fully operational.

Security is not the only new theme in the Oak Valley Hospital. The new building also incorporates patient privacy. The imaging/radiology department has private changing areas, there are restrooms in every department, and exam rooms now have glass front walls with a curtain instead of just a privacy screen.

“We tried to build as much patient privacy and comfort into the hospital as possible,” Martin said.

The hospital is also taking measures to make surgery and other procedures more sterile. Much of the equipment is now suspended from booms rather than pushed in on wheeled carts. The sterile core room between the four operating rooms has a pass-through, again to avoid wheeling equipment on carts.

“The key is that everything is off the floor except the operating table,” Friel said.

The first floor of the hospital will open in increments. The West side of the hospital includes a cafeteria and eating room that will be opened after the emergency, laboratory, radiology and surgical departments. The old hospital will house patient rooms until the second floor of the new building is opened.

Hospital pre-opening tours will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10. The guided tours will be open to any and all members of the public.

“We really want our community to have the opportunity to see the hospital that they supported,” Friel said.

ACME Construction and Jacobs Engineering have confirmed that the tour areas of the first flour will be completed and ready for viewing by the pre-opening.

“We hope to create a sense of pride and ownership among Oak Valley stakeholders and friends by encouraging them to see/touch/feel their new state-of-the-art hospital,” Friel said.