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Sunday, 16 September 2012 17:58

Holland Hospital expansion gears up for aging population

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HOLLAND — Michigan’s population continues to get older, and hospitals want to be prepared to handle them into their golden years. That’s spurred many health care organizations to beef up their facilities to handle the expected silver tsunami of baby boomers in the coming years.

Holland Hospital is one of them. The organization is in the middle of a $10 million expansion of its orthopedic, spine and neurosurgery unit.

As patients are opting for more orthopedic surgeries such as knee and hip replacement, the hospital saw the need to expand its facilities to better handle the increasing volume, said Kristie Dennett, orthopedic services coordinator for Holland Hospital.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people 65 and older represented about 14.1 percent of the population in Michigan in 2011.

“We’ve had about a 20-percent increase in the volume of orthopedic patients over the last two years,” Dennett said. “With the growing aging population, I expect this trend to continue.”

For the physical construction, Holland Hospital tapped both Lakewood Construction Inc. and Elzinga Volkers Inc. to work in tandem on the project.

“We looked at the complexity of this project, and although (both firms) have pretty good health care resumes, we were hesitant that just one had all the experience we needed,” said Mike Parker, Holland Hospital’s director of support services and construction manager for the project. “We wanted to spend as much of our dollars locally as possible, so we asked them join resources.”

For the design of the project, the hospital contracted Matthei and Colin Associates, a Chicago-based health care architecture firm.

The 23,400-square-foot addition to the hospital is also expected to help maintain and improve the hospital’s quality measurements, including fewer complications and readmissions and higher patient satisfaction scores.

Following national trends in health care, the hospital is increasing orthopedic patient room sizes and creating 24 private rooms, although the bed count of 189 will remain unchanged.

The hospital has been planning the project for little over a year, Parker said.

“By improving the inpatient unit, we hope we can bring more patients to the hospital,” he said. “We want to make this a destination of choice, creating a better environment and more opportunity for referrals.”

A wide collection of hospital staff including nurses, physical therapy staff and physicians among others were tapped for their input in the design of the new environment, Dennett said. Making sure there is communication between the different groups is critical to the function of the orthopedic service line, she said.

That the hospital has been drawing patients from outside its typical service areas, reaching into Grand Haven, Hudsonville and South Haven, also served as a driver for the expansion, Dennett said. She said the broader reach likely stems from the addition of two new procedures offered at the hospital.

Recently the health care provider introduced an alternative, less invasive approach to standard hip replacements, in a procedure that results in less post-operation pain and an earlier return to functional activity, Dennett said. The second procedure is a surgery that repairs torn cartilage in the hip or reconstructs abnormalities that can lead to early onset arthritis.

As of December 2011, Holland Hospital ranked 28th in the state for the number of joint replacement procedures, according to Orthopedic Network News. By comparison, Saint Mary’s Hospital and Spectrum Health ranked 15th and 2nd, respectively, in the number of joint replacement procedures. Both health care providers are considerably larger than Holland Hospital. While Holland Hospital is not trying to compete directly with the Grand Rapids-based hospitals, it is able to offer the same level of service and care, Dennett said.

“We feel we can offer equal or better quality care right here in people’s backyards,” she said. “We compare very favorably, in fact better than the national averages for external consulting benchmarks across the country.”

Read 2318 times Last modified on Sunday, 16 September 2012 19:42
Elijah Brumback

Staff Writer

ebrumback@mibiz.com

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