Paulding County Hospital (PCH) is celebrating National Hospital Week. A week that was established in 1921 to bring attention to the vital role that hospitals play in the community. Paulding’s original county healthcare facility began serving its residents 1879 and was later referred to as the Paulding County Hospital in 1938. Though many rural hospitals have closed or are on the brink of closure PCH has grown in recent years adding new providers, services, and technology.
The hospital has added new family practice physicians, nurse practitioners, and specialists in allergies, OB/Gyn, podiatry, cancer, and pain management. In recent years PCH has added total joint replacements of knees and hips; chemotherapy clinic for the administration of cancer killing drugs; and sleep lab and clinic for the management of potentially deadly sleep disorders. The hospital’s support services have grown as well. The Rehabilitation Department has grown from one Physical Therapist to three. The space in the department will grow as well with the addition of the Antwerp fitness center later this year.
The hospital has been a leader in the use of new technology being among the first to utilize thin slice CT scans, digital mammography, computed radiography, high definition endoscopy, and telemedicine. Mammography services will further grow this year with the completion of the Women’s Imaging Center where a new digital mammography machine will be conveniently housed in the same space as the ultrasound machine.
The hospital’s clinical laboratory has recently implemented molecular technology to rapidly diagnosis septicemia infections. This technology uses DNA amplification of the organism to determine the identification, thus reducing the resulting time by up to 48 hours. This DNA technology will be expanded in the near future to include respiratory and gastrointestinal viral and bacterial infections such as influenza.
The hospital is leading too in the development of services and products that are affordable to employers and patients. The hospital works closely with insurers to provide discounted fees for services acquired at the hospital. Recently the hospital announced a flat fee program that gives patients access to a provider of their choice, 24/7 urgent care, fitness center, certain lab tests, and health counseling.
The hospital employs 230 people directly making it one of the largest employers in the area. In addition to direct employment the hospital creates other jobs for the many companies that support the hospital’s mission.
National Nurses Week is celebrated the same week to honor the many nurses helping to improve the health of Paulding County residents. The hospital employs 61 nurses throughout the hospital and community. The nursing staff is comprised of Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses, and Advanced Practice Nurses known as Nurse Practitioners. The Advanced Practice Nurses specialize in a particular area and may focus on anesthesia, family practice, or hospital care.
While the Nurse Anesthetist has been a valuable part of the hospital team for decades, the other nurse practitioners are fairly new to the healthcare scene. The Nurse Practitioners are proving to be integral to the provision of healthcare in an era of physician shortages.
PCH nurses are seen throughout the community working in the hospital’s offices, providing care in patients’ homes, in the Emergency Department, Urgent Care, and of course the hospital. Some of these knowledgeable professionals hold masters degrees with at least one making progress on a nursing doctorate degree.