Hospital making plans to better serve area needs

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Keep watching! Exciting news is coming about the expansion plans at Community Hospital in McCook. Little has been released to date, but representatives of the news media learned Wednesday afternoon that major announcements are coming a week from today -- on Thursday, Oct. 13 -- and the following Tuesday -- Oct. 18 -- concerning a project which will greatly enhance rehabilitation services at the hospital.

Called "A Campaign for Better Care," the project has been quietly going forward since 2001. At that time -- during a feasibility study -- the Community Hospital Health Foundation pinpointed public opinion about the major need at the hospital.

The public's viewpoint -- expressed by an overwhelming 85 percent of those interviewed -- is that rehabilitation services need to be expanded at Community Hospital.

When you think about it, the survey results come as no surprise. For one thing, the population of McCook and the surrounding area is becoming older in comparison to other parts of the state. According to the most recent figures, 21 percent of McCook's population is 65 and older, compared to a statewide average of 14 percent.

The result? More and more of us are turning to the hospital for rehabilitation. We see and hear evidence of this from our friends and neighbors. Some are getting cardiac care following heart surgery. Others are going to the hospital for physical therapy after knee surgery. Still others are getting assistance for speech, occupational and pulmonary problems.

The trend towards increased rehabilitation is a good thing. As health care advances, we are learning to take better care of ourselves and others. This is shown by the increasing life span, which -- while noteworthy -- is also challenging because of the elderly's increased need for care.

Following that eye-opening 2001 study, Community Hospital called upon health professionals to help them develop better ways to serve the rehabilitation needs of the people of McCook and the surrounding region. That plan is ready and due for public release next week.

Be watching. Guided by the public and uplifted by generous contributions, Community Hospital is poised to embark on an exciting expansion of rehabilitation services. The details are coming soon.

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