By Patrick J. Bradley
The New York State Department of Health has approved an application by Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center to build a new inpatient facility for the care of heart and stroke patients.
The 12,950-square-foot unit, which will be built at a cost of $4.3 million, will a replace a 40-year-old telemetry unit on the fourth floor of the hospital's Schoellkopf Building. The modern, 25-bed facility will be built on the now-vacant third floor and feature all private rooms, including six higher-acuity step-down rooms for patients who require a more acute level of care and monitoring.
"This is great news for us and for the communities we serve," said Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Sheila K. Kee. "The new unit will be the perfect complement not only to our Heart Center of Niagara, but to the new cardiac catheterization laboratory that will open here next year."
"Cardiac disease and strokes are far too prevalent among our community," President and CEO Joseph Ruffolo said. "Our new, modern, patient-centered facility, with the outstanding high-quality care our doctors, nurses, and rehab specialists will be providing, will undoubtedly make a difference for everyone who walks through our doors."
"This approval is an excellent step toward making the standard of patient care even better at Memorial," said Chief of Cardiology Sachin Wadhawan, M.D. "This will create a dedicated modern floor for taking care of cardiac/vascular patients, which will help immensely when the new cardiac catheterization lab opens. Overall, I think this represents another great step in establishing a state-of-the-art cardiac facility at Memorial Hospital to serve the needs of the community."
In an innovative arrangement approved by the Department of Health earlier this month, a new cardiac catheterization lab will open in The Heart Center of Niagara at Memorial in 2017. It will be jointly operated by Memorial, Kaleida Health, the Catholic Health System and Erie County Medical Center.
Memorial's new inpatient cardiac/stroke care unit will utilize both centralized and decentralized nursing stations and "smart" technology to allow nurses to spend more time at patients' bedsides.
"This will increase staff efficiencies and, in turn, improve clinical outcomes," Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Joanne Krolewski said.
A rehabilitation therapy facility will be located within the unit to encourage quicker patient recovery and avoid the need to transport patients to the medical center's first floor physical therapy department. That facility will feature leading-edge visual-motor and neuro-cognitive rehabilitation equipment that employs programmable, customizable testing and rehabilitation routines.
"In addition, a dedicated patient-family resource center will provide a comfortable space in which nursing staff will provide education on cardiovascular disease and instruct patients and their families on how to successfully transition from the hospital to home and community," Kee said.
"The new, state-of-the-art cardiac/stroke care unit will go a long way in making a significant impact in treatment and prevention of stroke. This unit will surely motivate all the health care providers to provide the best care possible," said Stroke Center Medical Director Nyathappa Anand, M.D.
A recently awarded Health Care Delivery System Innovators Fund grant will finance $2 million of the project's cost. Foundation, governmental and individual charitable contributions, as well as direct hospital support, will fund the balance.
Construction is scheduled to begin this summer and will take about a year to complete.