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Cullman Regional unveils new fifth floor

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, Cullman Regional officially opened its newly-constructed fifth floor with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. / W.C. Mann

CULLMAN - On Tuesday afternoon, Cullman Regional officially opened its newly-constructed fifth floor, a little more than two years after announcing the project. According to CEO James Clements, the 39,950 square-foot addition will start with 15 beds and grow to 30.  Clements said that a staff of at least 50 will begin duties on the floor, with that number expected to reach 100. The fifth-floor expansion project was first announced in January 2016 at Cullman Regional’s annual State of the Hospital event. Construction on the project began in January 2017.

Clements shared, “We’re opening a fifth-floor expansion today, to be able to better serve the patients in our community.  We’re growing to serve our local community. It shows that we’re growing.  We’ve grown about 22 percent in terms of our in-patient volume over the last three years.  That, the usage of the community, has meant that we’ve needed to grow, and we’re thankful for that.”

Cullman Regional Executive Director Marketing & Community Relations, Lindsey Dossey said, “This is a great project.  Our staff is excited about it.  I mean, any time you’re growing and expanding, I think it’s positive, both internally and externally.  Our staff has rallied around this project and really helped push it along, and worked really well with the contractor, so it’s been a great team project.”

Clements and Cullman Regional Facilities Committee Chairman Dennis Richard both addressed the audience at Tuesday’s grand opening, recognizing architecture firm TRO’s Hal Starkey, who designed the original Cullman Regional facility on Alabama Highway 157 and came back to design the expansion, and Doster Construction’s Senior Superintendent Marty Stover, who brought to the project experience in vertical expansions atop operating healthcare facilities.  Richard also recognized interior designers and hospital staff who participated in the project.

Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer told the crowd, “Cullman Regional went from 115 beds to 145, a $20 million capital investment, and created a hundred new jobs.  You know, and that’s occurring here in Alabama at a time when other hospitals are closing; they’re not expanding.  They’re not doing what we are, and other communities are envious of this hospital; they just truly are.  Cullman is experiencing some tremendous industrial growth and retail growth, and this hospital gets a lot of credit for that.  I’m telling you: when companies look for locations, they want to know about the medical community and what’s there.  They want a good medical community for their employees, and, more importantly, for their families.”

After the ribbon cutting, visitors toured the new facility, met staff and got information about what will happen there.  

Cullman Regional Director of 5 East Post-Surgical Services, Jeff Bailey, who will run the day-to-day medical operations of the expansion, told The Tribune: “Our primary focus will be the recovery of post-surgical patients.  They’ll be in our care right after surgery for however many days the doctor deems necessary for their care.  We focus on physical therapy--we have a lot of joint operations on this floor.  We do have some medical patients on this floor, so it’s not strictly surgical.  We can take care of patients that have congestive heart failure or renal issues, and things like that.”

The rooms are equipped with typical amenities like televisions and family seating and all the nozzles, cables and outlets patients are accustomed to seeing on the wall at the head of the bed.   But they have their share of space-age hardware, too.  Near every bed is a networked computer terminal, so patient information can be input or retrieved immediately by medical personnel.  The beds themselves are “smart,” with onboard scales, bed exit monitors to tell nurses when a patient has gotten up, foot controls for patient repositioning to prevent back injuries to staff, and a host of other built-in devices.  According to Bailey, Cullman Regional “spared no expense.”

Once the state makes its final inspection, which could be as early as Wednesday, the floor will begin receiving its first patients.

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  • W.C. Mann
    Rooms on the new fifth-floor feature computer terminals and “smart beds” that can monitor patient weight and movement.