Lakeland shows off new unit

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Lakeland Hospital in Niles celebrated the first stage of its renovations with an open house to show off the recently completed A-2 inpatient unit on Thursday afternoon.
The entire second floor of the hospital had an overwhelming smell of freshly baked cookies.
Surprisingly enough, the cookies were being baked right in the heart of the open house.
Hospital volunteer Francis Pitchford was making use of the oven in the A-2 unit's new family lounge.
The lounge is a newly added feature to the unit and serves as a waiting room for families who are visiting patients at Lakeland.
The lounge contains a full kitchen with appliances donated by Whirlpool, plenty of comfortable places to sit, a television and even a bread maker.
Debra Johnson, executive director of Lakeland Hospital Niles, said the family lounge is her favorite part of the new renovations.
It provides a place for family members to bring in their loved one's favorite foods or just a place to relax and have a cup of coffee.
Johnson was happy with the large turnout of nearly 300 people throughout the day.
The gathering was full of community members, hospital employees and construction workers.
In addition to the family lounge, the renovations include a redesigned nurses' station, a staff lounge and newly remodeled patient rooms.
The patient rooms have been designed with the the hospital's Planetree philosophy of care in mind.
They have utilized soothing colors, artwork and natural light to make the patients feel more at home than your typical hospital experience.
It is a more restful, healing environment that is going to be a great asset to the community," said Julie Liebetrau, registered nurse at Lakeland.
Construction began in February 2003 and the A-2 unit opened for the first time in December.
The renovations are part of a nearly $20 million facility improvement plan at Lakeland Hospital in Niles.
All of Lakeland's employees and volunteers seem very pleased with all of the changes being made

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