St. Joseph takes big step toward future as expansion begins

St. Joseph Hospital has officially stepped into the future with a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of work on a $25 million expansion project.

The expansion is expected to improve patient access to innovative and clinically comprehensive health care programs that focus on specific diseases, such as cardiac disease and cancer, as well as provide more room for state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and operating rooms, said Peter Davis, president and chief executive officer of the hospital.

The entire project is expected to be finished in 2006, although most of the building will be up by mid-2005, he said.

Five service areas will be expanded and relocated to the new ambulatory building — the cardiovascular center, oncology center, endoscopy, phlebotomy and the Surgicenter.

Diagnostic imaging and the emergency department also will be redesigned to clinically accommodate technological advancement, improved patient ease of access, comfort and privacy and reduced wait times, he said.

“We will be challenging our own people with the excitement of always improving what we offer patients,” according to Davis.

He called the new operating suites “the operating room of the future.” Designed for outpatient surgery, the digital suite will feature operating rooms that allow surgeons, anesthesiologists and nursing staff to perform virtually all surgical procedures from ceiling-mounted booms.

The Endocrine Services Clinic will be Nashua’s first facility dedicated to helping patients manage the relationship between two deadly diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The expansion also will let the hospital better situate certain services by grouping related services together, he said.

In diagnostic imaging, the hospital will be adding a multi-slice CT Scanner that will allow a much more technically advanced imaging. It also is installing and expanding the proper equipment and networks to continue digitizing much of a patient’s record, including X-rays and other diagnostic procedures. This ties in with the hospital’s portal network that allows hospital staff, laboratory workers, radiology and doctors to share information securely.

The oncology center was designed by incorporating what patients wanted to see in chemotherapy, such as some private areas, as well as medical staff, according to Davis. It will also offer services such as Reiki, massage and music, patient education, a resource library and an on-site clinical pharmacy to mix chemotherapy medication.

“I’m excited about this. I think it’s exciting in many ways to see an organization grow and redefine itself. It’s like a rebirth. This shows that we’re never stagnant,” said Davis.

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