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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on August 17, 2016

New hospital entrance, renovations are major investment in future of community

August 16, 2016

Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital’s new entrance and mall are opening to the public Thursday, Aug. 18, part of the most extensive renovation project in the history of the nearly 70-year old landmark.

The relocation of the hospital’s main entrance and opening of a new mall along Memorial Lane are the most visible change to visitors, but those are just two in a series of upgrades approved by the Tidelands Health board of trustees in 2012 with the goal of making patient care better, more convenient and more efficient.

Tidelands Health leaders say the $41 million project represents a major investment in the community and the future of health care in the region.

“We are preparing Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital for the next generation of service to our community and a new era in care,” said Gayle Resetar, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Tidelands Health. “These improvements include everything from infrastructure and the exterior appearance of the building to parking and patient rooms. Easier access to services, a design that enhances patient care and expanded space to more comfortably accommodate family members all have been priorities in our new design.”

Easier access begins with expansive, brightly lit public parking on a resurfaced Memorial Lane and continues with entry on that side of the hospital through the new public entrance. The emergency department entrance for ER visitors and ER patients who arrive by vehicle other than ambulance is also located on that side with its own drive-under entrance.

The public entrance opens into a light-filled, 7,000-square-foot mall that features a visitor welcome desk, outpatient registration and easy access where outpatients can obtain most of their services, including laboratory testing, imaging and certain cardiac procedures such as EKGs, without leaving the area. The design essentially flips access to services from the rear of the hospital to the Memorial Lane side and closes the old mall area to the public.

“We listened to our patients and to what they wanted,” said Debbie Hockensmith, clinical director of laboratory services at Tidelands Georgetown.  “As a result, we have made this experience more personal and convenient, and whenever we can, are bringing outpatient services to the patient. We will have received the lab testing order via computer before the patient even arrives, so the process will be streamlined and seamless.”

The emergency department includes a large visitor waiting area and two large triage rooms for assessment, as well as a security desk where ER visitors will check in and receive an ID badge to wear during their visit.

 “Providing emergency care to our community is an honor and privilege,” said Dr. William Richmond, Tidelands Health chief of staff and director of emergency medicine. “The renovations in Tidelands Georgetown Memorial’s emergency department will provide a state-of-the-art facility that will enhance our ability to provide the highest-quality emergency medical care to our patients.”

“By its very nature, a hospital emergency visit is stressful,” said Wendi Kobylarz, clinical director of Tidelands Georgetown’s emergency department. “We have taken into account comfort, efficiency, security and privacy of our patients and their loved ones.”

A corridor will connect the new Memorial Lane mall entrance to the Black River Road mall, where the cafeteria and the gift shop will remain. However, all visitors are encouraged to use the new Memorial Lane entrance with the exception of wound and infusion services patients, who should continue to use the Black River Road entrance, and cardiopulmonary rehab patients, who are advised to use the ER entrance.

The new entrance and mall are a milestone for the hospital.

Even before most renovations could get underway, beginning in 2013 the building’s infrastructure was replaced with new heating and cooling systems, new plumbing, new electrical wiring and new generators. Next came a new roof, new windows and a new exterior skin to give the building a fresh, updated look.

Then interior renovations began in earnest, with patient care and treatment areas taking priority. A new cardiac catheterization lab with state-of-the-art equipment opened in late 2013, and in spring 2014, the 23-room, 2 East patient unit reopened with a sleek new look designed for care, comfort and safety.

The space of three rooms prior to the renovation became two patient rooms in the new design.  Each room includes wireless Internet access and a solid-surface counter that extends along one wall to hold personal items and hospital equipment. A sink is strategically placed next to the door to allow staff and visitors to wash their hands immediately upon entering and just before leaving a patient’s room. Each room is furnished with a couch with a table that converts into a bed for an adult. Bathrooms are equipped with walk-in showers big enough to accommodate a wheelchair.

Later that year, the new Black River Road entrance and mall were completed. That area opens to a refreshed cafeteria with new floors and paint, a new gift shop and a health system donor wall recognizing individuals and organizations for their philanthropy.

In early 2015, the women’s services unit reopened with brighter, larger rooms and bathrooms updated similarly to those on 2 East, new flooring throughout the unit and an expanded nurses’ station that centralizes nursing staff and enhances communication and coordination of care.  

Resetar said the renovation is one of several the 66-year-old landmark has undergone since opening in May 1950 and the first since 1999 when the administrative wing on the first floor was expanded. And, she said, Tidelands Georgetown is not finished yet.

Later that year, the new Black River Road entrance and mall were completed. That area opens to a refreshed cafeteria with new floors and paint, a new gift shop and a health system donor wall recognizing individuals and organizations for their philanthropy.

In early 2015, the women’s services unit reopened with brighter, larger rooms and bathrooms updated similarly to those on 2 East, new flooring throughout the unit and an expanded nurses’ station that centralizes nursing staff and enhances communication and coordination of care.  

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Tidelands Health is the largest health care provider in Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties. With three hospitals and more than 50 outpatient locations that stretch from Andrews to North Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health is helping people across the Tidelands region live better lives through better health.