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Excela Health Frick Hospital unveils $2.6 million in upgrades

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 10:12 p.m.
Mt. Pleasant Journal
Neil Como, Excela Health Frick CCU and CPU nurse manager (right) describes the changes to patient rooms at the hospital near Mt. Pleasant to (left, front to back) Mt. Pleasant Borough Council President Joe Bauer, Mt. Pleasant Mayor Jerry Lucia and Kecksburg EMS Officer Ron Struble Thursday, September 27, 2012. Kelly Vernon|Mt. Pleasant Journal
Independent Observer
Excela CCU and CPU nurse manager, Neil Como describes the renovations at Excela Frick Hospital to Scottdale Borough manager Angelo Pallone (left), Scottdale Mayor Chuck King and Louis Lazzaro Thursday, September 27, 2012 during a tour of the facility. Kelly Vernon|Independent-Observer

Excela Health Frick Hospital recently ushered in $2.6 million in upgrades to its facilities and services.

While speaking recently to a crowd of political and community leaders from Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Pleasant Township and Scottdale, Excela officials touted the improvements as “visionary investments” into the future of community patient care at the Church Street facility.

“We are so excited to tell you about what's going on at our campus here,” said Jennifer Miele, Excela Health vice president of marketing and communications, to the crowd of local dignitaries packing the hospital lobby.

From private patient rooms, expanded critical care capabilities and enhanced technology for cardiac care Excela officials offered those in attendance a close-up look at the improvements.

“Investing in our facilities is a vital component of putting patients first,” said Robert J. Rogalski, Excela Health's chief executive officer. “Doing so means having long-range plans for capital improvement across the health system and being prudent about how and when we make these upgrades. Our commitment to the Mt. Pleasant community is long-standing.”

Over the last several years, Rogalski said, the Excela Health System has upgraded Frick's emergency department, physical therapy and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation areas, and welcomed several new physicians to the Frick medical staff, some of whom maintain office space there.

The latest improvements have occurred on the hospital's third floor — which formerly housed the hospital's skilled nursing unit.

The new critical care unit features large private patient rooms and bathrooms, recliners and 32-inch televisions.

“Being able to retrofit what you have into a new use is a wonderful thing,” said Robin Jennings, Excela Health spokeswoman.

The public areas on the floor will be decorated with local artwork produced by Kim Proud, a member of the Excela Health laboratory staff who lives in the Mt. Pleasant area.

“These ‘creature comforts' are very important to the patient and family perception of privacy, comfort and sense that services are modern and up-to-date,” said Lonna Paterline, vice president of patient care services at Excela Health Frick Hospital.

Beyond the facelift in flooring, furnishings and fixtures are upgrades to technology with an enhanced cardiac monitoring system in place in both the critical care and progressive care units.

“With this equipment caregivers can monitor a patient's heart rhythm and respiratory status from a centralized location,” Paterline said. “That means the nursing staff can pick up on any change in a patient's condition more quickly. The new telemetry monitors also are equipped with a screen that shows the patient's EKG tracing in real time. Nurses at the bedside will see at a glance if something is amiss, thereby expediting appropriate response more quickly.”

Another benefit of the system is the ability to perform capnography, a practice which measures a patient's respiratory status and carbon dioxide levels, thus limiting the need to draw arterial blood samples.

The patient beds for critical care are also state-of-the-art and easily synchronized with the patient's electronic medical record based on their design.

The beds are equipped with pressure relieving air mattresses. The mattress provides a turning feature to gently rotate the patient from side to side to relieve pressure.

The mattress also comes with a percussion function that helps break up any congestion that a patient might have.

And should the patient need to be transported for testing, the monitors are portable to move with them, and the bed is motorized to make the trip easier.

In addition, each bed comes equipped with a library of songs and soothing sounds to help the patient relax.

In the event of a language barrier between patient and care provider, the bed also is programmed with a multi-language library so the nurse can converse with the patient in a way they understand.

“Hospitalization is rarely planned; therefore the stress level is often high among patients,” Paterline said. “These improvements will change the environment in which care is delivered and the overall patient experience.”

The hospital is also celebrating recent national recognition for care of the heart failure patient, having earned a five-star rating from the American Heart Association for adherence to best practices.

In the area of patient care practices, Excela Frick meets or exceeds a number of nationally set benchmarks demonstrating commitment to delivering safe and quality care.

“Frick Hospital has been recognized locally and nationally for the care that we provide to our patients to help to assure that they do well inside of the hospital and can stay healthier outside of the hospital,” said Bill Jenkins, M.D., medical director of the Frick Emergency Department and leader of hospital quality improvement initiatives.

“The facility improvements support our clinical practice as we work to improve the health and well-being of every life we touch.”

To learn more about Excela Health Frick Hospital, visit

A.J. Panian is a staff editor with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or