The 171-room addition unveiled Thursday is not your grandmother’s Chambersburg Hospital.
During a preview tour of the 180,000-square-foot enlargement at the U.S. 30 facility, it became apparent that the new addition featured accommodations that are very different than the semiprivate room of yesteryear.
Chambersburg Hospital of 2012 offers spacious private patient rooms with televisions, WiFi and plenty of family seating by the window.
The total cost of the addition was $100 million, including equipment, furniture and landscaping.
While the winter green wall color and the wood-grain flooring is a plus, the biggest change is the spacious private rooms, according to officials from Summit Health, which owns the hospitals in Chambersburg and Waynesboro, Pa.
“If you can picture what it means to have the peace and the quiet to be able to heal and not have to share your room or not have to listen to the alarms and the noise — it’s priceless,” said Dr. Sanjay Dhar, chairman of Summit Health Clinical Decision Team Summit Hospitalists.
“It’s a giant step not only for Summit, but for our entire community,” he said. “These rooms are twice as big as our current ICU (intensive care unit) rooms.”
The existing rooms were built in the late 1970s, Dhar said.
The new addition includes a 20-bed critical care unit with the largest rooms in the addition, two floors of 30-bed medical-surgical rooms and a state-of-the-art catheterization lab on the main level.
Norman Epstein, president and chief executive officer of Summit Health, said the addition moves Chambersburg Hospital forward.
“This is the next 40 years,” he said. “We’re doing something for the long run.”
Medicine has evolved. There is more equipment, and Epstein said the rooms need to expand to accommodate the changes in medicine.
“It’s a proven fact that private rooms assist in reducing infection, privacy, patient satisfaction, reducing noise, safety for the caregiver and the family can become more involved to enhance the healing process,” said John Massimilla, Chambersburg Hospital’s vice president for administration and chief operating officer.
He said the addition could be extended two more levels in the future if needed.
Teresa Napier, critical care area nurse manager, is thrilled with the changes.
“The typical critical care patient can be on life support, which is a very big ventilator which sits beside the bed. They can be on a lot of IV (intravenous) drips — it’s a lot of equipment,” she said.
All of that equipment left very little room for the family, she said.
Now, there’s plenty of room, Napier said.
“The (patient) does rest easier knowing that their loved one is here in the room,” she said. “It’s a home-like feeling that we are going for.”
Hospital staff will begin to move patients to the new addition Dec. 8. Massimilla said about half of the hospital will be relocated.
By Dec. 15, the move will be complete.
“We are moving 171 beds from the current facility. What will remain in the existing facility is the behavioral health unit, the maternity unit, the pediatric unit and our rehabilitation unit,” he said.
Massimilla said the vacant units in the existing unit can be used for office space, additional beds or whatever the hospital needs.
He said it’s been between 35 and 50 years since changes were made to the medical-surgical and critical-care areas.
Both sections of the hospital are connected by an elevator. So hospital staff said the public can enter through the main or King Street entrances.
The public is invited to an open house Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Parking is available near the intersection of King and Seventh streets in Chambersburg.