By Kevin O’Rourke
Area residents turned out in large numbers to tour the brand new Holy Cross Germantown Hospital which will officially begin taking patients on October 1. The hospital, which is the first new hospital in Montgomery County in more than 35 years, invited the public to tour its facility on a beautiful Sunday in late September.
“We wanted to offer the community an opportunity to meet some of the staff, participate in health screenings and get familiar with the first new hospital in the county in more than 35 years, " said Yolanda Gaskins, a spokesperson from Holy Cross Germantown Hospital.
As residents toured the six-story facility, hospital staff members were on hand to answer questions and provide commentary about the various areas services.
Residents were given the ability to inspect some of the hospital’s 93 in-patient private rooms, which are located on the top three-floors of the hospital. The hospital will have very liberal round-the-clock visiting hours, seven days a week. Each of the private rooms will be equipped with a fold-out couch for loved ones wishing to spend the night with patients. The rooms will have private bathrooms, cable television and free wireless Internet access, as well as games available on the television for gamers of all ages.
Inpatient rehabilitation services will also be offered at Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, including physical therapy, occupational theory and speech-language pathology.
Indeed the 24-hour visiting hours and the ability for patients to order meals when they want them, rather than conform to the hospital’s service schedule attempts make spending time at Holy Cross Germantown as pleasant an experience as possible.
Most of the first floor of the hospital is devoted to the Emergency Department, and supporting services, with the imaging department and a behavioral health department close at hand. The new full-service emergency room is equipped to handle patients with acute life threatening conditions and will be the only one in the Germantown area. It is expected to care for more than 22,000 people each year, according the hospital.
The close proximity of the imaging and diagnostics area with advanced technology will allow for prompt patient assessment and immediate physician access to results through electronic medical records. The Imaging Department will feature a full-service radiology department, including X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Computerized Tomography (CT Scan), ultrasound and nuclear medicine.
The Behavior Health Department will offer emergency and voluntary impatient psychiatric treatment, staffed by specially trained psychiatric nurses and psychotherapists. The department will offer individual, group, family, recreational and occupational therapy, as well as, medical therapy and social services. There is also an enclosed courtyard for behavioral health patients.
The second floor is dedicated to more serious medical issues and houses the surgical services and intensive care unit (ICU), as well as a catheterization lab for interventional procedures. The hospital will feature five, 600-square-foot operating rooms which will offer a wide range of surgical specialties. The surgery department will be equipped with full-service operating rooms, as well as procedure rooms for endoscopy and interventional radiology.
At first the hospital will only being using three operating rooms, but eventually the surgical department will ramp up to using all five rooms. There are a number of surgical procedures scheduled for opening day, Oct.1.
The second floor is also home to the pre- and post-operative rooms. A spacious pre-operative area for patients and family members to prepare for surgical procedures will feature special gowns for patients which will allow them to adjust the temperature for added comfort. The Post-Anesthesia Care Unit which is the recovery room area for patients after surgical procedures will be staffed with critical care nurses.
The 15-bed ICU will be available for monitoring critically ill patients for round the clock monitoring. Specially trained nurses will be equipped with in-house cellphones which will alert them to fluctuations in conditions for all patients in the unit on a real-time basis. For instance, a nurse tending to non-critical needs of a patient in room 2 will get an immediate alert that the patient in room 10 is having difficulty breathing.
The unit will also have a negative pressure room. It includes a ventilation system that generates negative pressure to allow air to flow into the isolation room but not escape from the room, thereby preventing contaminated air from escaping the room. This technique is used to isolate patients with airborne contagious diseases such as tuberculosis.
The third floor is dedicated to moms and babies. It houses the maternity rooms, labor and delivery rooms, as well as Special Care Nursery, and dedicated Cesarean Section operating rooms.
“Our comprehensive maternity services will provide outpatient prenatal care to keep women healthy throughout their pregnancies-and an inpatient maternity center staffed by a team of highly-skilled specialists in women and infant care,” said Gaskins. “Labor and delivery rooms, cesarean surgical suites, private postpartum rooms and an eight-bed neonatal care unit will provide sophisticated care centered on the health of mothers and babies.”
The labor and delivery rooms are very spacious and contain couches and comfy furniture for other family members to be close to mom during this special time. The maternity ward is staffed round-the-clock by obstetricians and anesthesiologists and contains the latest in fetal monitoring and infant warmer technology. The hospital will also operate a prenatal clinic for expectant mothers.
The Maternity Suites feature comfortable furniture, a private bathroom, cable television, free wireless Internet access and room for a support person to stay overnight. Each room is equipped with a bassinet to encourage “rooming in” with the newborn.
The hospital will also feature a 16-room Special Care Nursery which will be a Level IIB Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which will be able to provide care for premature born at greater than 32 weeks gestation or who are recovering from more serious conditions. The NICU at Holy Cross Germantown Hospital will be able to provide assisted ventilation for less than 24 hours. The nursery will also have the ability to provide continuous positive airway pressure, commonly called CPAP, which is a type of respiratory support. In premature babies, CPAP is delivered through a set of nasal prongs or through a small mask that fits snugly over a baby’s nose.
Once operational these rooms will feature iView live video feeds, which will allow parents to access a video feed of their infant from their computer at home.
Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, which will be the first hospital in the nation located on a community college campus with an educational partnership with Montgomery College to help train the next generation of health care professionals. The hospital, which will serve as the anchor for the Hercules Pinkney Life Sciences Park at Montgomery College on its Germantown campus, will be a resource for aspiring health care workers and provide students with hands-on learning, state-of-the-art instructional space and exposure to advanced medical technology.
Top: Holy Cross Germantown Hospital will open on October 1, the hospital is located close to I-270 on Observation Drive just off Middlebrook Road.
Next: Crowds of area residents in the lobby of the hospital at the Open House held on Sunday, Sept. 21.
Next: One of the hospitals 93 patient beds.
Next: A look at one of the hospital’s emergency room patient areas.
Next: The MRI machine at Holy Cross Germantown Hospital.
Next: The Catheterization Lab, which is located next to the hospitals surgical suites.
Next: Operating Room Number 4, one of five at the hospital.
Next: A look at one of the Maternity rooms at Holy Cross Germantown.
Next: One of the spacious labor and delivery rooms, which is set up to handle the birth of twins.
Next: One of the Special Care Nursery rooms at Holy Cross Germantown.
Last: The emergency room entrance.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.