Barnesville Hospital Continues Growth to Serve Community

Shown are Emergency Department Manager Ryan Gallagher, from left, with Emergency Room staff members Toni Rockwell, Shelby Jefferis and Becky Cline. The expanded emergency department is a key to the hospital’s continued success.

BARNESVILLE — Community commitment has been instrumental in the success of Barnesville Hospital, which opened its renovated and expanded Richard L. Doan Emergency Department in 2015 to provide people in and around rural western Belmont County a better place to go to receive emergency care.

According to Barnesville Hospital Foundation Director of Development Jan Chambers, the $3.5 million project was largely made possible by the “hospital family” coming together with $2.6 million in donations.

“This was a lot of individuals making gifts that pulled together to make this happen,” Chambers said of those who supported the much-needed expansion.

Chambers also acknowledged the important role and show of support made by the Village of Barnesville. In 2013, the village made a low-interest loan to the hospital to get it “over the top” and allow the final steps in planning the project to commence.

According to Registered Nurse Becky Cline, who has been working at the hospital for almost 30 years, the old emergency room facilities were little more than a series of cubicles with curtains separating them, affording little privacy to patients. Emergency Department Manager Ryan Gallagher agreed the workspace for hospital staff was cramped and inefficient in the former ER.

The renovated facility features enhanced security and drastically improved work-flow according to Gallagher, and patient registration is mostly performed at bedside in one of the eight private rooms.

“Nine times out of 10 when somebody arrives, they come straight to a room. It’s simpler and more private for the patient,” Gallagher said.

One of the eight rooms is a specially designed safe room, which can be used for patients who due to mental illness or drug abuse might be a threat to themselves or others.

“We are seeing more drug overdoses and people with mental health issues who come to our emergency room because they don’t have the resources, and this gives us the opportunity to treat them in a safe and compassionate way,” Chambers said.

The facility also has a large Trauma Procedure Room for critical patients.

“We’re small so we don’t get them every day,” Gallagher said, “but since we’re Critical Access and rural, we’re the closest facility and it’s really been great when needed.”

Critical Access is a federal designation given to select rural hospitals that are considered essential -providers of health care to residents in their area. Barnesville Hospital received the designation in 2004.

“Even though we don’t do everything here,” Chambers said, “we do get a lot of emergencies and traumas here where we stabilize the patient and then ship them to other hospitals. If we weren’t here, it would be a real challenge for some of those individuals.”

Another feature of the Emergency Department is a grief consultation room so if a doctor needs to speak to a family privately, they have a comfortable space in which to do so.

Barnesville Hospital is also part of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Telestroke Network, which connects emergency departments in more than 25 community hospitals with Ohio State’s specialists in neurological care and stroke.

If a patient comes in with stroke symptoms, a special computer interface is used that allows a physician from Ohio State to interact with the patient and evaluate their symptoms and they can decide whether it is appropriate to administer clot busting medications before transporting the patient there.

Chambers said a number of patients have benefited from the technology being there and been saved from any deficits as a result.

Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Patrick Dunster aptly summed up the commitment and pride felt by the staff, saying, “We really like what we have here.”

The newly renovated facility is dedicated to Richard L. Doan, who served as hospital CEO from 1987 until 2012 and oversaw a host of improvements, advancements and expansion of patient services.

He also was instrumental in the expansion of the emergency department while serving on the Barnesville Hospital Board of Trustees after his retirement.

Doan died in February 2015 just six months before the ribbon-cutting to open the facility he had envisioned, but his influence and dedication lives on in the care administered to patients there.

“Now we feel the facility reflects the care they receive,” Chambers said.


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