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9:37 PM Thu, Feb. 21st

More beds available at growing hospital

Kingman Regional Medical Center will increase beds by 88 percent by late summer.

When an expansion project begun in late 1999 is finished, the hospital will have 213 beds, compared with 124 now.

The new second- and third-floor bed tower on the north side is partially open.

The second floor accepted its first patient March 3 and as of Tuesday morning 22 of 112 occupied beds in the hospital were on the second floor of the north tower, according to Marty Cowan, director of development and community relations for the KRMC Foundation.

About 60 new beds will be available once all work is complete on the north tower.

These will all be single-patient rooms for comfort," Cowan said.

"But the patients in them will not be charged for private rooms."

Each room has a bathroom more spacious than in existing rooms.

Each new room has shower stall.

The new intensive care unit on the third floor will have 20 beds, compared with eight in the current ICU.

The area will also have a conference room, bereavement room, doctor's transcription area and expanded nurses' stations from which nurses will monitor a designated number (probably two) of patients, instead of all ICU patients from one station as is now the case.

Cowan said 14 of the beds, all in individual rooms, are designated for ICU patients, while six are for cardiac patients.

However, the rooms are licensed for both types of patients and thus the configuration could change as circumstances demand.

"Increasing ICU beds from eight to 20 is one of our key areas," Cowan said.

"It means the ninth, 10th and 11th patients we get will no longer have to be shipped to another hospital.

"We could have put 20 med/surgery beds in the same space, but we really need ICU beds."

One of the rooms is designated for isolation patients.

It has a separate room with sink for washing and donning gowns or masks that doctors, nurses or family members must pass through before entering the patient room.

Power columns, through which monitoring equipment is connected, were hooked up in 12 of the rooms Tuesday morning.

They should be ready for occupancy Thursday, and the remaining eight rooms will be ready once power columns in the present ICU are moved, he said.

To ensure people visiting the new areas don't become disoriented, hospital auxiliary volunteers will be seated at tables at elevators to provide directions.

It will be a permanent staffing arrangement, Cowan said.

Work on the third floor of the south tower should be completed in May.

There will be 20 beds there for patients needing extended post-surgery care.

The second floor of the south tower will be the site for future expansion as needed, Cowan said.

The increased bed capacity is part of a project that cost $22.8 million for construction alone, and $32.4 million when new equipment and supplies are added.

"It all increases our capability to better meet the needs of the community," said Steve White, associate administrator, operational services at KRMC.

"The opening of the north tower marks a milestone in the project and we can now see it all coming together."

Construction on the south tower should be finished in May.

That will leave only renovation of the old surgery area and kitchen to be completed.