“We are continuing to grow and develop services here to meet the needs of the community,” said Owens.
The hospital president also noted an expansion in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
“We are building a 16-bed intensive care unit replacement project that will double our capacity,” said Owens.
The current eight-bed intensive care unit will become part of the emergency department, doubling to two the number of triage rooms where patients first come in to be evaluated.
The ICU expansion is planned for the north side of the hospital facility, located at the corner of Prestley Mill Road and Hospital Drive.
Included in the expansion will be a new hospital cafeteria and a nine-bed recovery unit, which will support the interventional cardiology and radiology programs.
The hospital recently celebrated its first year anniversary of performing percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI, which is used to treat coronary artery disease, but can also be used on an emergency basis to treat a heart attack.
Also called coronary angioplasty, the procedure inserts a catheter into a blocked artery to restore blood flow to the heart muscle, Owens explained.
A new cardiac lab under construction will add a second intervention room for procedures within the 102-bed hospital.
The hospital expansion is growing both up and out, with four levels on the north side of the building, which dates from 1971.
The old cafeteria will be converted into a retail pharmacy.
“Patients treated here will be able to fill their prescriptions here as well,” said Owens. “We are making additional modifications to our dedicated behavior health rooms.”
Douglas is now an accredited chest pain center, said Owens.
As an accredited chest pain center, WellStar Douglas ensures that patients who arrive at the hospital complaining of chest pain or other systems of a heart attack receive the treatment necessary during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved.
The number of patients using the emergency department continues to grow rapidly, he said.
“Our growth year was 8 percent, which is pretty significant,” he said. “As the ER grows, the need for inpatient care grows.”
The hospital’s Birthing Center has recently gone through a complete renovation, said Owens. New state-of-the-art, maternal-fetal monitors provide close monitoring of mothers and infants via bedside and central monitoring capabilities.
The Birthing Center delivers an average of 500 babies per year. It has been ranked in the top 10 percent of patient centers for patient care, he said.