Trumbull, Sharon Hospitals Improve Care with Private Rooms

Patients at both Sharon Regional Medical Center and Trumbull Regional Medical Center can expect upgraded private rooms on their next visits to those hospitals, both owned by Steward Health Care System.

Both celebrated the openings of previously closed areas of the hospitals, now reopened as additional inpatient space, which allows for most to have a private room.

On the eighth floor of Trumbull Regional Medical Center, 18 beds in a recently remodeled area of the hospital will free up space in other parts of the hospital.

President Cindy Russo said during the pandemic, when many elective surgeries were canceled, the eighth floor was closed. Then a staffing shortage created a situation where it was difficult to reopen it.

“We are so fortunate now that we are staffed and in a position to be able to offer patients to come to this floor and to have our nurses have assignments that are reasonable for them and for the patients so they can give every patient focused attention,” Russo said.

A ribbon was cut Thursday on the eighth floor of the Trumbull Regional Medical Center by, from left, John Guarnieri, chairman; Dr. Kapil Kwatra, chairman of medicine; Guy Coviella, president and CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber; Linda Heater, chief nursing officer, Ohio and Pennsylvania; Cindy Russo, president of Trumbull Regional Medical Center; Robin Baird, director of medical surgery; Warren Mayor Doug Franklin; Dr. Gray Goncz, chief medical officer; and Manuel Bautista, president of medical staff.

According to Charlotte Matash, director of critical care and assistant chief nursing officer, the eighth floor was gutted about 10 years ago and remodeled with wider doors, private bathrooms and post-op accessible showers.

“As bad as it is to be [in the hospital], it’s nice to have a private room. And if you don’t have to share a bathroom, then it just makes it a whole lot easier,” Matash said. “I know it’s tough to be in the hospital, but if you can have a private room, it certainly makes it better, especially in this day and age of COVID and infections, and everybody is leery about that kind of stuff.”

Additionally, having more rooms open allows those in semi-private rooms on other floors a likely chance to get a private room as well.

At Sharon Regional Medical Center, a reopened area of the fourth floor, as well as repurposed space in the former obstetrics unit, is improving quality of service for patients requiring several types of care.

Robert Rogalski, president of Sharon Regional Medical Center, pointed out that during the pandemic, the hospital’s patient numbers did not allow for private rooms, but the hospital system announced the official end of the pandemic Thursday.

“We were so full and so busy that we had to do semi-private rooms for a lot longer than we wanted to,” Rogalski said. “I’m so glad to be here finally and get a sense of normalcy back to how we provide health care to our region.

Private rooms allow patients more privacy to talk to their doctors and visit with family, Rogalski notes, and leads to a quieter floor more conducive to rest and healing.

The new pain management room at Sharon Regional Medical Center.

“Everything was built around the patient experience and making the patients more comfortable when they are having health care,” Rogalski said. “We wanted to do this going back when I first arrived here in August of 2020, but we were just so full during those time periods with the three waves of COVID. … The pandemic has been declared to be at an end as an emergency. It’s still out there. We’re still testing and watching it carefully and don’t have our guard down, but we’re at a period now that we can move forward and have enough space for private rooms.”

The private rooms give the staff space to help the patients, and it is easier to communicate.

Areas that once housed the obstetrics patients at Sharon Regional Medical Center have been repurposed to move a pain management clinic back into the hospital.

Rogalski said a lot of people have chronic pain, such as inflammation of their joints and back pain, but the pain center can allow them to get injections to help them in the healing process.

Thomas Capco, senior director of specialty services with Steward Health for Ohio and Pennsylvania, said the equipment and rooms for the pain management clinic are a big upgrade from what there was before. Additionally, people are treated right in the hospital, where if there is an emergency, help is available.

Robert Rogalski, president of Sharon Regional Medical Center, center, cuts the ribbon Thursday on the newly upgraded fourth floor private rooms. At his left are Jessica Tedesco, assistant chief nursing officer, and Dr. Nicolas Abbott, chief medical officer and hospitalist; at his right are Linda Heater, chief nursing officer, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and Valerie Hennessy, senior director of quality control.

The hospital also brought the sleep center into the facility.

Capco said it can be difficult to get people to come in to do a sleep test, so setting up a room more similar to a hotel for them to sleep with a TV, private bath and shower and other amenities can make spending the night in the hospital being watched while you sleep a little less intimidating. Plus, the hospital now has three sleep rooms, while the former facility in Hermitage had only two, which should help with the backlog that creates a two-month wait for those needing a sleep room.

“We’re demonstrating growth and commitment to the community,” Capco said. “We are dedicated to being here and being represented and making sure people know who we are, what we’re capable of and that we’re going to continue to grow.”

At both events at the Sharon and Trumbull hospital locations, Alyssa Van Winkle, a clinical rep with Outset Medical Inc., was demonstrating the Tablo machine, which allows for kidney dialysis to happen in any location where there is electricity and running water.

Dr. Kapil Kwatra was the first at Trumbull Regional Medical Center to have one of his patients use the machine Wednesday, and he reported the positive benefits of the machine for patients.

Russo said the Tablo machine allows them to have state-of-the-art equipment and provide dialysis in the hospital without the need for an outside vendor.

Those attending the Trumbull Regional Medical Center ribbon-cutting were happy to hear about improvements and future plans at the hospital. Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said the city values its partnership with Trumbull Regional Medical Center and was glad for the reassurance by Russo that the hospital is here to stay.

“One of our No. 1 priorities in this community is to grow the population to take the jobs that we are creating, and we hear constantly from young talent that one of the criteria they look for is the quality of health care in the community, so hearing this announcement today, it helps us do our job a lot better,” said Guy Coviello, president and CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

Pictured at top: One of the new private rooms on the eighth floor at Trumbull Regional Medical Center.

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