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Baxter Health celebrates grand opening of newly renovated 5 South

It was all smiles yesterday at Baxter Health as donors, local dignitaries, and hospital representatives joined together to celebrate the grand opening of Baxter Health Auxiliary 5 South Surgical Services.

The patient-centric remodeling project included the addition of six new patient rooms and an expanded waiting room that features a dedicated sunroom and “living wall.”

“I’m a firm believer that you provide high quality, compassionate care, even in a run-down facility,” said Baxter Health CEO Ron Peterson in an analogy about giving compassionate care to patients. “But if you can combine that with a beautiful up-to-date facility – I believe that we, working together, have that synergy and are able to provide compassionate, high-quality care in a first-class facility.”

5 South Surgical Services is a nursing unit serving inpatients under the care of various medical specialties, including orthopaedic, neurosurgery, general surgery, urology, otolaryngology (ENT), and plastic surgery.

Initial housing only 26 beds, 5 South was often forced to move its recovering patients to other portions of the hospital. In 2018, 5 South Nurse Director Kalyn Hannaford approached Baxter Health Chief Nurse Shannon Nachtigal about expanding the unit, so patients could stay with their surgeons and nurses at 5 South instead of being moved to other locations in the hospital.

“Kalyn Hannaford came to my office and said, I need you to hear me out, listen before you speak, don’t say anything. I want more beds on 5 South,” Nachtigal said. “In my mind, I’m thinking, if any of you know the infrastructure of this facility, we have no space. So, what were we going to do with the residency classroom? What were we going to do with the gym? And Kalyn said to me; it’s really about the patients. We do not have enough beds to accommodate our surgical patients.”

That request created the 5 South Surgical Services Capital Campaign that the Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation proposed to the community in July 2021.

The campaign raised a total of $1.7 million for the remodel, through $25,000 gifts, pledged over five years to renovate patient rooms, and an $825,000 naming gift from Baxter Health Auxiliary. More than half of the funds raised in the campaign have already been gifted to Baxter Health, with the presentation of a $1 million check at the Foundation’s Donor Banquet in May.

 As a result of the remodel, the unit now includes 32 patient rooms. Each room received aesthetic changes and new features designed to make life easier on 5 South nurses.

Laundry bins were added to the front of the room to make clothes management easier. Light switches were strategically placed, so nurses did not have to lean over patients to turn off the lights at night. An easy-to-use tray arm was added to the beds to make mealtime easier.

For visiting family members, a reclining chair was added for those who would like to spend the night with their loved ones.

In addition to the new room features, the nurse’s station in the center of 5 South was also renovated, allowing patients and families easier access to their nurses. 5 South’s waiting area was also overhauled and now features an expanded waiting area, and a sunroom featuring a living wall of plants was added for patients to relax and enjoy, thanks to the donations of Judy Loving, Bob Winkelman, and the Dyess family.

“The Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation is excited about the newly remodeled unit and believes that it will help Baxter Health provide the best experience for patients and families. We are thankful for the generous gifts and continuous outpouring of support from the community that has helped make this remodel a possibility,” said Barney Larry, VP/Business Development and Executive Director, Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation.

During yesterday’s celebration, Major Gift Chair John Dyess of the Hospital Foundation Board of Directors thanked the 101 individual donors that donated to 5 South’s $1.7 million remodel.

Some donors include Josee Schliemann, Mike and Katie King Risk, Carol Balance, Dr. Lucas and Karla Bradley, Paul and Janet Mruck, Randy and Brenda Hopper, John and Ann Dyess, and more.

“This campaign was a true testament to the generosity of the community. Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation approached the community with a need and was given a tremendous amount of support in return. We are thankful for the generous donors whose gifts helped facilitate the completion of this project,” said Sarah Edwards, VP/Major Gifts, Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation.

The remodel of 5 South will allow Baxter Health to continue to champion access to compassionate, high-quality care by remaining independent, strategically comprehensive, and community-focused.

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