$13 million in improvements planned for hospital

Michael Karlik/Torrington Telegram Photo Hospital CEO Zachary Miller said the 13,000 square foot expansion will include operating room upgrades and modifications to the north entrance.

TORRINGTON – Torrington Community Hospital will receive a $13 million upgrade to its operating rooms, entryway, and a bariatric care room.

Banner Health, which operates the 25-bed Torrington facility and hospitals in six states, announced that construction will break ground on Aug. 21 and will last for 12-13 months in the first phase.

“The design plan was developed by our staff - our highly skilled doctors, nurses, and medical technicians - and based on their experience,” said hospital board Chairman Bob Taylor.

The north entrance, which will be closed during construction, will receive parking lot modifications and the MRI trailer will move to a different parking space. Future phases will construct a new south entrance, as well.

For the hospital staff, the 13,000-square-foot addition will include major upgrades to the operating rooms and a more comfortable environment for employees.

“With this, we’ll be all in the same room,” said Libby Montgomery, the RN senior manager of patient care services. “Sterile processing currently is located on a different floor and it will be now immediately adjacent to the OR.”

She cautioned that patients may not be able to see the extent of operating room renovations because they will likely be anesthetized for their surgery.

“There is potential for getting more people done in one day because we’re not having to take extra time to run that stuff downstairs, get it going in a washer down there, and then come back upstairs. It’s going to be in a room ten steps away,” Montgomery added.

The hospital’s chief executive officer, Zachary Miller, acknowledged that while upgrading the operating room in the 42-year-old facility would not likely affect outcomes for patients, it is conceivable that less time in surgery could result in lower bills for anesthesia.

“The efficiency is really from a staffing perspective,” he said, adding that for employees who must travel between floors, “it makes them tired. It’s a lot of work to push equipment.”

The expansion will also include a breakroom within the surgery department.

Separately, the Community Healthcare Foundation has donated $105,000 to the hospital to renovate a space for bariatric, or obsese, patients.

Approximately one-third of adults in Goshen County are obese and that rate has been slowly increasing. The hospital’s current patient rooms can accommodate individuals up to 350 pounds. For larger people, the planned upgrades to one patient room that will make their care more comfortable.

“It will have a renovated restroom, is really the big thing,” Miller said. “When you go into those spaces as a larger person, you’re very self-conscious.”

The enhancement, he said, “allows them to maintain their own dignity that they don’t feel shoved inside a closet.”

The hospital has already purchased lifts, beds, and chairs for the bariatric room. Construction will conclude in 2020.

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