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Rural hospital is given nearly 100 high-tech beds

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 9:40 PM CDT
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CHIPLEY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The pandemic created a hospital bed shortage, which pushed medical centers across the country to add more beds to meet the demand.

But as things are getting back to normal, those excess beds are being put to good use. Many of them are being sent to other hospitals in need of upgrades, including a rural hospital in Chipley.

The number one priority in any hospital is the patient.

“We’re kind of like their home away from home while they’re with us. While they’re staying with us, we want them to be comfortable in their bed as they can be since they’re not at home,” said Denise Serigne, a registered nurse at Northwest Florida Community Hospital.

After about 20 years, the beds at Northwest Florida Community Hospital were in need of an upgrade.

“One of the biggest complaints that you get, along with food at an organization is the comfort of the beds and our beds were you know beyond their years of service,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Kozar said.

Now those beds are going out of service as 76 new beds roll in.

“When we were told, we were just so excited because we just feel like our patients will get a better quality of care, and they’ll be much more comfortable, and we’ll be able to take care of them even better,” Serigne said.

The beds were paid for by the Florida Division of Emergency Management, which saves the hospital more than half a million dollars.

The current beds lack important features the new ones have.

“You know simple things as being able to weigh a patient. These beds have the capabilities of weighing patients, and so you’re not getting a patient out of bed to put them on a scale to weigh them,” Kozar said.

“These all don’t have a bed alarm, so we actually have to place an alarm beneath them which is not as comfortable as when it’s just already built into the mattress,” Serigne said.

Hospital officials said these high-tech beds are a game-changer for more than just the patients.

“The nurses and technicians that take care of the patients to be able to have functioning beds that actually will ease the care that they give to the patients, is really a paramount,” Kozar said.

Kozar said they typically budget to replace about $35,000 for beds each year. Now they’ll put that money toward new equipment and other needs instead.

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