Surgical Center to get facelift; Sanford announces up to $3 million renovation

WORTHINGTON -- Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington has announced plans to update its surgical services area. Up to $3 million will be available from the Sanford Health system to improve and remodel the area, according to SRHW Chief Executive Of...

WORTHINGTON -- Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington has announced plans to update its surgical services area. Up to $3 million will be available from the Sanford Health system to improve and remodel the area, according to SRHW Chief Executive Officer Lynn Olson.

"Improving privacy is a priority, as well as recovery space for outpatients to meet current standards," Olson said Wednesday. "We want to make it as current as it can be. We have four operating rooms, which is more than adequate surgical capacity, so it's really just the pre- and post-op areas" that will be the focus of the upgrades.

"This place has been very well cared for," Olson added about the overall hospital building. "It's been well-maintained and is a solid building. This is just something to get with the times with the switch to mostly outpatient surgery versus (inpatient surgery) when this was built. It will help the flow of patients and how they're recovered."

Olson, who started his position July 1 when the Worthington hospital was integrated into the Sanford Health network, identified the surgical area as one that needed updating when he initially toured the facility, and his observation was reinforced by comments from patients and staff. He broached Sanford officials, who agreed it was a priority and pledged up to $3 million to the project.

Olson stressed that the project is in the early stages, with the design process beginning this fall and construction planned for sometime in 2009. An architect has been approached for some preliminary design factors and estimates, and a conceptual drawing has been developed for the entrance to the surgical area.


"That's the view as you get off the elevator," Olson said. "The tone is that we want this to be a very warm and inviting atmosphere, as much as surgery can be. We're going to warm up the color scheme, and right now it's very hard to discern where you should go when you get off on the second floor. We want to make it all look like it goes together. The real work will be inside of that (view)."

A team of local physicians and hospital employees will be selected to work with project architects and Sanford Health to develop the surgical area so that it will meet current and future needs.

"Having surgery or a procedure can be a stressful event for a patient and their family, and these improvements will make them as comfortable as possible during the whole experience," said John Lundblad, M.D., a general surgeon at Sanford Clinic, Worthington.

As part of the surgical center project, new patient software will be installed to make scheduling patients easier, more convenient and more efficient for patients and staff.

"The scheduling improvements will increase access for physicians, providing benefits to all providers and surgeons who use Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington," said Scott Hoffman, local doctor of podiatric medicine who uses the hospital facilities. "Improving privacy will be a benefit for patients as well."

While the surgical space improvements are still a few months away, equipment upgrades are already impacting SRHW's surgical center. A $160,000 investment has been made in laparoscopic equipment for use by SRHW surgeons, and some of it has already arrived and is being used.

"It really came out of physician need, and it's going to benefit nearly every surgeon who does procedures here," said SRHW Director of Nursing Jennifer Weg.

Among the equipment updates is a five millimeter scope.


"What's needed in today's technology is minimally invasive procedures, so it's a very small little scope," Weg explained. "That makes for better recovery for the patient. It will really benefit people to have updated technology right here at home."

The new equipment is also high definition, Weg noted, so it gives the surgeons more precision.

"Sanford is pleased to support our hospital in Worthington in its effort to improve care for its surgical patients," said Ed Weiland, president of Sanford Health Network. "Already this year, surgical volume is up 24 percent more than anticipated, which is a tribute to the surgeons and surgical staff."

Olson anticipates that other improvements will be announced down the road, as the funding becomes available.

"There are other areas that we need to assess the need for space and equipment," he said. "We're going to be updating the hospital's master facility plan. It was last updated in 2002, and this surgical project was anticipated in that plan. Over the next six to 12 months, we'll be working with our local board as well as the Sanford folks to update that facility plan. A lot of what was in the plan has been done and executed, and we need to bring some things into current focus."

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