New Lobby Reflects Comfort, Home

A rendering of the new two-story lobby

When entering the main campus of Southern Ohio Medical Center, visitors will get a much more comfortable experience than they’re used to receiving from a typical hospital. When completed in 2008, the two-story lobby will offer 8,000 square feet of warmth and bright welcome space.

“We wanted to create an entrance that will make people feel as comfortable as possible while acting as a central hub for the hospital,” Mark Dye, senior architect for URS Corporation, the company in charge of designing the addition, said. “When people come in, we want them to be impressed but not feel too overwhelmed.”

To make this possible, the design team used an array of natural concepts to mimic the feel of Southern Ohio, eliminating the rigid feel of most hospitals and opting for a more comforting environment.

“We chose to use lots of natural colors and more earthy materials like stone, slate, and wood to provide a very relaxed feel,” Dye said. “We also used a curvilinear shape to the halls and lots of angles to duplicate the Ohio River and its surrounding hills.”

A rendering of the cafe and gift shop

The finished atrium will feature high ceilings to allow for larger windows and multi-storage space, and a fireplace to create a warmer atmosphere. The main reception desk, as well as new café and gift shop, also will be located in the new lobby to provide an easier flow of department traffic in and out of the center of the hospital.

“We really wanted to stay away from a high-tech design because that tends to feel less inviting and makes people more frightened,” Dye said. “Our main objective was to create a space that downplays the fact that you’re in a hospital while providing the best access to all destinations, and I think we’ve successfully managed to do that.”

SOMC Unveils Plans For Four-story Addition

Southern Ohio Medical Center welcomed the public Feb. 14 to the SOMC Expansion Expo as part of unveiling activities for the next phase of the hospital’s $100 million expansion project.

The project is the next phase in a four-year expansion of services and facilities that began with planning mid-2005, first construction in August 2006 and will continue through 2009. The changes coincide with the expansion of SOMC’s Heart and Vascular Services, including open heart surgery, that will affect many of the processes and facilities at the hospital.

“The four-story patient care addition will include 102 private rooms,” Craig Gilliland, director of Facilities Management, said. “The area currently known as One West will be refurbished to accommodate new Same Day Surgery. The east side of the new addition will include the main entrance to the hospital, which will be a two-story lobby including a café, children’s waiting area, gift shop, registration and help desk.”

Construction has been under way for more than five months on the south side of the hospital, where a two-story addition will expand Emergency Services and Surgical Services, Gilliland said. The south side project will be completed in 2008.

An open house was held on the fourth floor of Medical Office Building K on the SOMC Main Campus. Staff members from five key areas of the hospital presented individual displays. An outline of the planned construction was presented on the former parking areas in front of the hospital.

SOMC staff members presented architectural drawings and discussed upcoming expansions in Emergency, Surgery, Heart and Vascular Services, Nursing and the new front entrance and lobby. A virtual tour using computer-rendered graphics courtesy of the project’s architect, URS, was presented.

Guests were invited to tour the five service area displays and ask questions. Architect and Engineering Firm URS and the project’s construction management firm, Turner Construction, were on-hand along with SOMC leaders to provide information about the project.

SOMC Kicks Off Heart Month With SSU’s ‘Aida’

Members of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Services shared information on heart month, healthy eating habits and upcoming events at the SOMC-sponsored production of “Aida” Feb. 5 at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. This was the first of several events planned this month including the unveiling of the new patient care addition construction featuring heart and vascular services on Feb. 14. From left, Danielle Poarch, Keri Imm and Ginny Pinson, Heart and Vascular Services, work with a community member at the event.

SOMC Has New Process For File Pickup

The departments of Health Information and Medical Imaging at Southern Ohio Medical Center have teamed together to create a new medical record release area to better serve their customers.

“Radiology had received feedback that there was an opportunity for improvement in providing files to our patients,” Chris Sanders, supervisor of the MRI Department at SOMC, said. “We wanted to do something for them to make the process easier, and I think we’ve created the perfect solution.”

Through the new area, patients may obtain personal medical records, films, or CDs by calling 740-356-8286. After a prompt, the patient will be directly connected to a personnel member who will place an order for their files to be compiled. If calling after hours or when the line is busy, the caller will be directed to leave a voice mail to fulfill their request. The patient’s records will then be ready for pickup within 24-hours.

“The center is a welcomed change,” Sanders said. “It really helps eliminate all the previous steps patients had to go through to get their records and simplifies it into a one-step, one-stop easy-access area.”

To obtain the records, patients must report to the medical release window, located at the main entrance on the SOMC Main Campus. A photo ID is necessary for pickup. Persons picking up records for someone else must also present a photo ID, as well as a signed note by the patient stating who will be receiving their records for them. Pickup is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

SOMC Maternity To Play Lullaby With Each Birth

The Maternity Department at Southern Ohio Medical Center welcomed a new addition Jan. 29.

“In honor of the birth and new family, we will play the Brahms’ Lullaby, which will be heard throughout the hospital,” Jone Stone, nurse manager of Maternity Services at SOMC, said. “It will only last 10 seconds, but it will be a nice way to let everyone know that such a wonderful event has happened.”

Ideas for the addition of the lullaby started last May during a patient-care-centered workshop and focus group.

“We had a variety of employees from all departments suggest we add a song,” Stone said. “Other hospitals do similar things, so we decided to start working on it.”

After researching other hospitals to find the most common song and time-lengths, the final decision of using Brahms’ Lullaby was made because of its comforting sound and correlation to newborns.

“We wanted music that was recognizable and had a soft, warm feel to it,” Stone said. “Brahms’ Lullaby seemed like the obvious choice.”

The version of the song that will be heard throughout all departments was performed and recorded by Tyler Thompson, music major at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. The lullaby will be activated through a remote button located within the Maternity Unit.

“We appreciate our families and the privilege of providing care for them during their birth,” Stone said. “The lullaby will be a great way to celebrate this great event and we’re all looking forward to the addition.”

Lawson Appointed To SOMC Board

George Lawson

George Lawson has been appointed to the SOMC Board of Directors, Chairman Robert E. Dever has announced. His term on the SOMC Board is effective through July 2009. Lawson is also a member of the SOMC Foundation Board, serving as chairman since 2005.

An area native, Lawson served in public education for more than 35 years. He retired as superintendent of the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center in 2001. For the past four years Lawson has been the director of the College Tech Prep at Shawnee State University.

He and his wife, Pat, live in the Portsmouth area. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.

SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services To Celebrate Tenth Anniversary Feb. 8

Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Wheelersburg Rehab Services will celebrate 10 years of operation with an open house Thursday, Feb. 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the facility, 613 Center St., Suite D. Light food and refreshments will be available and clients, employees, friends, and guests are all invited to attend.

“The open house will be a reunion to thank the community and our clients for the business they have provided over the past 10 years,” Dayna Lawhorn, physical therapy assistant at SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services, said. “They have done a lot for us and we wanted to do something nice to show how much we appreciate them.”

SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services provides a wide range of occupational and physical therapy to patients suffering from various injuries, including back and shoulder problems, neck injuries, arthritis, and neurological problems occurring after a stroke. They also provide rehab for patients following major surgeries, strains, and sprains.

The facility first opened in 1997, with four tiny rooms and a staff of two therapists. The staff has now grown to include six, and their services have increased in capabilities and quality thanks to the addition of space and equipment.

“Our growth over the years has allowed us to offer more programs for our patients instead of sending them elsewhere for help,” Lawhorn said. “We’re able to reach a wider audience and provide more in-depth services, which is great for the community.”

The rehab center also was honored earlier this year when Pam Higgins, rehab technician, was recognized for her work at the facility with the most distinguished award given by the RehabCare Group, the Trusheim Spirit Award.

Lawhorn says the staff looks forward to growing and advancing even more in the future, and thanks everyone for all the help and support that has been given to the facility thus far.

For more information, contact the SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services office at 740-574-8189.

SOMC Using State-of-the-art IV Pumps

SOMC Pharmacist Brian Missler and Nurse Educator Melissa Groh

Southern Ohio Medical Center has taken another step in 21st-century medical care with the deployment of more than 450 intravenous (IV) pumps that include new safety features for patient protection.

LifeCare Plumb A+ devices developed by leading global hospital products manufacturer, Hospira, Inc., utilize a drug list containing safe dosage parameters. The pump prevents under-dosing and over-dosing of drugs by warning caregivers that a dose entered is outside of acceptable limits.

The new LifeCare Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) device, developed by Hospira, Inc., helps reduce the potential for human error in administering pain medications by using a built-in bar code reader, compatible with pre-filled, bar-coded medication vials, to allow patients to control the flow of their medication.

Both the Plumb A+ and the LifeCare PCA infusion systems offer these enhanced safety features through its compatibility with Hospira MedNet, a customizable software system that closely defines medication dose limits and tracks the IV drug delivery through the bar codes to help prevent medication errors.

Rory Phillips, director of Pharmacy, says the investment in this new equipment is central to patient care and safety.

“SOMC’s commitment to both safety and service is reflected in this investment. We strive to be among the top hospitals in the nation in safety and service indicators, among others, and the LifeCare PCA devices help us bring a higher level of comfort with additional safety measures.”

The software has the flexibility to develop and program dose guidelines for up to 150 medication entries, and also allows SOMC to create customized clinical decision rules for up to 18 different clinical-care areas of the hospital, such as the post-anesthesia care unit, oncology and pediatrics.

Atkins Earns SOMC IDEAS Award

Greg Atkins (second from right), a staff member of the Nutrition Services Dept. of Southern Ohio Medical Center, recently received an IDEAS award for suggesting a new window be placed in a stairwell exit door to prevent accidents. SOMC Maintenance members Michael Coriell and Brent Conley (far left and right) arranged installation of the window. Presenting the award to Atkins was SOMC Safety Services member Sheri Anderson. SOMC’s IDEAS (Ideas Designed by Employees at SOMC) program rewards employees for presenting viable ideas that support the organization’s values of safety, service, quality, relationships and performance.