VA Hospital Wants Input on Intensive Care Changes

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COLUMBIA - Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital held an open house Friday to get input on plans to construct a new intensive care unit.

The hospital invited staff members, veteran patients and family members of patients to fill out surveys and give suggestions of what they would like to see in the new unit. The team will post the top five to 10 ideas from the open house on the hospital's Facebook page for further input.

Supervisory general engineer Clay Atherton said construction is scheduled to begin in 2013. He said he wanted to get as much input from users and potential users as possible in the year-long design process.

"We have a veteran on our design team who will give a voice for somebody who doesn't work at the hospital," he said. "He can speak for other folks that he may get input from."

The new unit will be on the west side of the hospital on the second floor of the new operating room suite, which is scheduled for completion in December.

 The hospital recently expanded the heart program and changed visitation hours, and ICU nurse manager Stephanie Carter said the new units will better accommodate these changes. The new unit will be bigger and include 16 beds and restrooms within each room.

"The idea would be to expand the rooms so they're large enough that everybody can get around the bedside," she said. "The nurses can still take care of the patients and the families are still there with them. The idea is for the patient to be as comfortable as they can be, and if they want their families in there, then that's the important thing."

The hospital plans to continue taking suggestions on its Facebook and Twitter accounts and plans to hold two more open houses.