The truth is, here at Mt Graham Regional Medical Center, we could not have made it this far through the pandemic without our dedicated and hardworking staff at every level. When this pandemic first started, it came with many questions; we all felt it. Information and protocols seemed to change daily, sometimes, even hourly. We all had to rapidly learn to adapt, finding better protocols and support along the way. So, by the summer, when we had our first surge, our facilities and staff had much better ways to help and treat our patients than we did at the beginning.
During this time, we were reminded of some undeniable truths. The first is we really do have an incredible family here at MGRMC with Staff members who are willing to go above and beyond. Second, we have the best community. Community members jumped in every chance they could; some dropped off pizzas for staff members, some send thoughtful cards and messages in the mail. When commercial face masks were in short supply, we had an overwhelming amount of community members come together to sew masks, donating hundreds to us, and holding mask drives all over the community to make sure everyone had them. When our facility became full of patients and we asked everyone to mask up, we were fully supported by both county and city governments.
We recently finished a construction project in the Intensive Care Unit; now, the majority of our ICU rooms are negative pressure rooms. We also have negative pressure rooms on the medical/surgical floor for patients who do not require care in the ICU. Since the air pressure is lower inside these rooms than outside, contaminated air does not escape when the doors are opened. Instead, clean air flows into the room as the contaminated air is sucked out and into an exhaust system that filters the air and pumps it outside the hospital. This allows us to safely keep infectious patients away from other patients and visitors.
With the new CDC guidelines released last week, for the first time in what feels like a long time, it feels as though we are starting to see a beacon of light at the end of the tunnel. It has many of us reflecting on the past year. Some of us have lost neighbors, friends, and even loved ones. We have all learned a lot, and most of us are ready to put this past year behind us. We all know the reality is, it is not over yet, but it seems we have all found hope that “normal” might be around the corner.
We also realize that some of our community’s health care needs have changed, and we want to make sure we understand and are providing for those needs to the best of our ability. For this reason, several months back, we initiated a strategic planning project with a focus on hope for the future. We have held many different discussion sessions, some with our staff, some with our community health care partners, and even some with members of the community who could attend. We are now starting to wrap this process up; the end result will be a document that clearly defines our future direction and how to better meet our community’s healthcare needs.
Over the past year, Mt Graham Regional Medical Center stood out above many others; we were and are able to care for our patients quickly and effectively. We were one of the only hospitals that recognized the importance of family by allow at least one family member to visit patients in our facilities. We truly are a state-of-the-art hospital with some of the best equipment in the state and yet are able to continue to operate as a rural community hospital. We do not just care for patients; we care for our neighbors, our friends, and our families because everything we do here at Mt Graham Regional Medical Center is about our community.