PDT Staff Writer
After more than three years of planning and development, the Heart and Vascular Center at Southern Ohio Medical Center, in Portsmouth, is now fully open to the public.
"We couldn't be more excited to have this program up and running," said Amy Fraulini, director of Heart and Vascular Services at SOMC.
Ground was broken in 2007 for an overall $110 million expansion at SOMC, which included the Heart and Vascular Center. The new state-of-the-art center, entrance and new emergency department expanded the the hospital to 210,000 square feet, and added a four-story patient addition with 102 new, private beds. The new Center consists of a non-invasive cardiovascular testing department, cardiac catheterization labs for both heart and peripheral procedures, and a Heart Care Unit that recovers and cares for all post-coronary angioplasty and open-heart patients.
"What's really unique about this is that it's a Heart Center concept, so everything as far as heart and vascular is pretty much centered here in this one area. We have the cardiovascular operating rooms that are down the hall a little bit that also compliment the center. Also we have the cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, that is presently over at the LIFE Center," Fraulini said. She said SOMC also is the only hospital in our region to have the Universal Bed Model which allows a patient to stay in one room throughout his recovery process. In the Universal Bed Model, the patient's room essentially changes throughout his open-heart procedures, starting as an intensive care room on arrival from surgery and transitions to a calming, home-like environment with family space and amenities as the patient recovers and plans to return home.
Also, new rooms offer a family area, with a desk and chair that lays down into a bed, flat-panel television mounted on the wall, family locker and refrigerator, larger bathrooms, and nurse's stations positioned between every two rooms overlooking the patients. Nurses also have a locked station in every room, where a patient's medications are stored, ready to be administered each day using the hospital's new digital barcode scanning system.
Fraulini said even before the Heart Center opened, the hospital had a non-invasive cardiac testing area for many years, and also had a diagnostic cath lab since 2000. She said if doctors at SOMC found a lesion in the coronary arteries, they had to send them out to another facility. In 2006, the hospital began doing angioplasty through a clinical trial with Johns Hopkins University.
The new center allows for more local treatment options. It opened in late November and has already accepted its first open-heart patient, on Dec. 2. The hospital reports the patient's outcome was "excellent," and the patient was discharged home on Dec. 5.
"We've already preformed open-heart surgeries, both coronary bypasses and coronary valve replacement and repairs, and each has gone better than we could have hoped for," Paul Rase, nurse manager of SOMC Heart Care Unit, said.
Fraulini also welcomed doctors Henry Childers (cardiothoracic surgeon) and Daniel Jovanovich (cardiologist) as two of the newest additions to physician staff at SOMC's Heart and Vascular Center.
"This is the biggest and most exciting project I've ever been a part of at SOMC. I am privileged to work with each and every member of our team and I am excited to see us continue to grow and expand exceptional patient services to our families and community," Fraulini said.