Hospital gets accolades for operating department | AspenTimes.com
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Hospital gets accolades for operating department

Eben Harrell

Aspen Valley Hospital’s revamped operating rooms have received a thumbs up by a national quality control organization three years after the group scolded the hospital for overcrowding and sub-par conditions in the operating department.Last September, the hospital unveiled a nearly $2 million overhaul and expansion of its operating department. The improvements followed recommendations made in 2002 by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, an independent, not-for-profit organization that evaluates and accredits health care organizations across America. The commission’s 2002 audit stated that the hospital’s operating area must be improved by May 2005.Last week, an inspector from the commission toured the department and said all the needed improvements have been made.”He took a 20-minute tour [of the operating area] and told us we had complete resolution on all counts,” chief nursing officer Barrie Harms said. “He really complimented the design and function of our new operating rooms.”Among the complaints raised in the commission’s 2002 audit was a citation of overcrowding in the operating rooms. The lack of space meant patient changeables – like sterile gloves, screws, operating instruments – were being stored outside the department’s sterile environment. While the changeables would be transported in sterile containers, the commission said the equipment should ideally be stored close at hand in the operating department.The commission also said the smallest of the hospital’s three operating rooms was too small to safely perform larger procedures.Of the $2 million spent on improvements, almost half was used to expand the department. The new space allowed the smallest operating room to be enlarged to full size. Several storage closets for disposable operating equipment were added. And a new staff lounge was built. The remaining $1 million was used to install cutting-edge equipment and technology in the operating rooms. Hospital CEO David Ressler said the operating department had always remained compliant with the commission’s basic requirements but that the new department is one the community can now be proud of.”We never lost our accreditation from JCAHO, but we did respond to their advice and now we have an operating department that is really top notch by any standard,” he said.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com


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