RMH opens Intensive Care Unit

The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the RMH Intensive Care Unit took place on May 23. RMH Board members, led by Board President John Byrne, were in attendance beside members of the RMH Administrative Council and Med Surg Director/ICU Manager Brooke Cowan. CEO Brad Smith performed the ribbon cutting.

Brad Smith, CEO, and Carrie Tressler, VP of Nursing, wanted a very sleek, modern chic look that would provide a “hands-free” environment for the staff. Design Collaborative of Fort Wayne was the architect for the project and Harmeyer Construction was the general contractor selected for the job.

A variety of factors contributed to the decision to build a new ICU at RMH.

The most obvious motivation was the Covid-19 experience. During the pandemic, some RMH Covid-19 patients were obliged to travel as far as an hour away to get ICU care.  This was stressful for both the patients and their families. In addition, prior to the pandemic, the hospital only had one negative airflow room. A negative airflow room helps prevent the spread of contagious diseases within a hospital, thus protecting patients and staff. While everyone at RMH hopes that we will never have another pandemic, it was decided that the hospital needs an ICU in order to be better prepared for any future situations that might arise.

Even before the pandemic, RMH was expanding its surgical services to include hip and knee replacements, ENT and Pain Management procedures, etc.

An ICU is an important safety net for surgery patients, a “just in case” backup plan that helps assure patient safety and security.

Another factor that led to the construction of the ICU came from recent changes in the field of medicine itself. In recent years, more and more medical care has come to be provided on an outpatient basis. This means that patients who still need hospital care are, on average, sicker than they used to be. The safety net of an ICU here at RMH is more necessary than ever.

Of course, building an ICU is not the same as staffing one. An ICU cannot function without nurses who have ICU experience, particularly when patients need to be put on a ventilator. Fortunately, RMH is able to provide this level of nursing care.

When the ICU is fully operational Rush County patients will no longer have to travel out of the county for intensive care services.