HOISINGTON — In rural Kansas, a strong hospital is vital to a community and when a need arises, friends and neighbors pull together to make it work. When the need became apparent, the Hoisington community of 2,700 people, pulled together to expand a vital facility.
Through community contributions, Clara Barton Hospital and Foundation in Hoisington has raised $1 million in about a year to expand the non-profit hospitals’ laundry and physical therapy services, adding 5,577 sq. feet. Construction began last spring and is nearly completed, allowing people to stay closer to home for treatment in their own community.
Staff began moving in last Friday. The hospital will hold an open house and ribbon cutting on Nov. 20.
What was once described as a great choreographed dance for staff and patients will now become more relaxed with curtained rooms for privacy, an open floor area for equipment, a kitchen and bath for occupational therapy, private intake rooms, and offices.
“It means so much to provide improved access, improved opportunity for enhanced services, improved number of services and do it in a brand new location that has more suitable and adequate floor space,” said Curt Colson, CEO and president of Clara Barton Hospital.
The old physical therapy department only had 1,250 square feet.
The vision for this expansion began in 2012 when the hospital board of directors began making strategic plans, according to a project brochure. Because of trends in healthcare, including aging of the population, they realized that additional physical therapy space was needed.
After gathering extensive information, and in only about two years, the vision has been achieved.
The expansion also means a lot to staff. “We’re very excited for our staff and patients,” said Mark Blackwell, physical therapy department director. “We’re happy for the community and the community support for it. It will allow for increased services, privacy and confidentiality, and help recruit new staff and allow for increased volume.”
The new physical therapy department has a separate entrance at the back of the hospital for patients as well as additional parking.
New employees will be hired. The laundry needs two to three employees and therapy services added two more full-time jobs.
The new laundry service is expected to save the hospital $250,000 per year that will now be used to fund other services, said Colson. The hospital was outsourcing the 2,000 lbs. of laundry created each week.
Hospital laundry requires special treatment to avoid cross-contamination, high powered detergent and machine temperatures. The new facility has separate rooms for dirty laundry and clean laundry.
The total cost of the expansion is 1.4 million and hospital is still accepting donations to complete the full cost. Ten percent of the funds for the building was given by employees, and the remaining $400,000 still needs to be raised.