Transition team anticipates trouble-free move to new hospital

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On the morning of Nov. 12, The Memorial Hospital's new facility will open when the first patient comes through its doors.

But, on Russell Street, the old hospital will continue to be fully operational until each patient is safely transferred to the new building.

At a meeting Wednesday, The Memorial Hospital board approved, 6-0, the Patient Move Manual, a 25-page document detailing procedures and assignments for the morning of the move.

The manual, developed by TMH's temporary patient move team, touches on everything from physicians' orders to educational letters for families of patients.

It brings up several possible scenarios that might occur during the hospital transition and procedures to prevent infection, injury or damage.

Patient move coordinator Kathy Fagan said the move itself will be a smooth process.

"It's very orchestrated," she said. "We'll be practicing a mock move as well so that everyone with an assigned role gets the chance to actually play it out."

Patients will be given an assessment before and after the move.

The manual outlines scenarios including moving emergency patients to maternity patients.

Fagan said every possibility has been considered.

Fagan was given the opportunity to travel to Texas and watch another hospital undergo a transition into a new building.

In that case, Fagan said an emergency surgery was required about 45 minutes before the planned move time.

But, even situations like that won't interrupt the transition, she said.

"It's almost a non-event," she said. "I can't see any emergency stopping it from happening."

During the move, which is anticipated to take about two hours, both hospitals will be open. If an emergency occurs, patients can go to either facility to receive care.

The hospital could move from three to 25 patients, though Fagan said they anticipate to shuttle about 10 inpatients via ambulance to the new facility during the two-hour window.

However, once the last patient leaves the Russell Street building, the signs will be taken down, and the site will no longer be a hospital.

The future of the old Russell Street campus

The future of the Russell Street campus is still undetermined.

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, which leases half the building, has offered $1 million for all or a portion of the campus.

However, that offer is contingent on federal grants, which will not be awarded until November.

Until then, the VNA has gone ahead with plans to begin expanding its facility.

On Wednesday, the TMH board approved, 6-0, the schematic drawings the VNA will use to renovate the space it currently occupies.

With $300,000 in grants, the VNA plans to expand the number of exam rooms in their current space from six to 16.

Because TMH owns the space, the board has to approve any recommendations.

"It's a good project, and we should help them out," TMH Chief Executive Officer George Rohrich said. "They'll be able to use that space a lot more efficiently."

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