By ALAN J. ORTBALS
Anderson Hospital in Maryville has had a busy year, undertaking a $7.2 million project to convert to a private, patient room format; forging a strategic partnership with Mercy Hospital in St. Louis; and acquiring Community Memorial Hospital in Staunton.
Anderson completed and opened 21 private rooms in October. More are on the way.
“Anderson Hospital’s private rooms have been carefully designed to meet the needs and expectations of our staff, patients and their families,” said Lisa Klaustermeier, chief nursing officer. “We’ve gone to great lengths to create a patient room experience that emphasizes comfort and safety.”
The rooms were designed to minimize noise, accommodate family members to stay in the rooms and make them accessible and efficient for staff.
“We’ve used a zone system in the room,” Klaustermeier said. “There’s a caregiver zone where they have the things that they need, a patient zone and a family zone. So, there’s a sleeping surface in all the rooms to invite families to stay. There are USB ports, Wi-Fi, lighting for the families, lighting for the patients; a lot of new technology and a lot of new safety features.”
In recent years, many hospitals have been moving to the private, patient room format. One reason, according to Klaustermeier, is changes in privacy laws. Another is that studies show that risks of infection are lower with only one person in the room. And patient satisfaction scores have also driven the movement.
“Consumers’ expectations have changed a lot over the years,” said Keith Page, Anderson Hospital president and CEO. “Forty years ago people were happy to have a ward with 10 or 20 other people in it. Then it changed to a semi-private room with one other person. I think people now expect to have a more hotel-like atmosphere in their room. There’s even a difference in the service aspect of their stay in the hospital. For example, patients can order meals at any time of day. They can pick any kind of food that they want — within their diet. If you went back even five or six years ago, you just had the fare of the day.”
The conversion project will be completed in early 2017 and public areas will be remodeled to match the new décor.
In September, Anderson began providing cancer care services through a partnership with Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. Called Anderson Mercy Cancer Care, installation of new, state-of-the-art radiation oncology equipment is taking place now with radiation oncology services planned to go live in early 2017.
“Anderson Hospital prides itself on keeping health care local,” said Page. “This partnership gives patients the most convenient access to Mercy’s clinical expertise and the integrated model simplifies the options for local cancer patients. We are able to take advantage of the expertise they have already built in the field and bring it to our local community. We are really excited about it.”
Klaustermeier explained a Mercy physician has a clinic in Anderson’s Warren Billhartz Cancer Center. The center has an infusion room where chemotherapy infusions, injections and hydration therapy are administered. The new partnership means that Metro East residents facing a cancer diagnosis now can opt to be treated locally, close to the comforts of home and family. Chemotherapy services began at the center Sept. 19.
Page said that they see Anderson’s service territory as the middle of Madison County and going north, which made the acquisition of Community Memorial Hospital in Staunton a logical fit.
“It’s a 25-bed, critical-access hospital that was looking for an organization that could bring services to their community that they were not able to offer themselves,” said Page. “We are working with them to enhance the services available in their community and, in turn, it is very easy for those patients to be transferred here when necessary to provide the kind of expertise they need.”
Anderson Hospital will turn 40 years old next year and has purchased a 10-acre tract on Goshen Road in Edwardsville for the future development of an outpatient facility.
“It is right in the community center plan Edwardsville and Glen Carbon have developed,” Page said. “They have plans for development of that whole area with sports parks and a pedestrian friendly mix of retail and residential. We want to be right in the middle of all that. Having the Y and the school as neighbors couldn’t be better.”