Spectrum Health Lakeland Niles expansion to increase room for bariatric wing, orthopedic recovery

NILES — Crews are now hard at work expanding one of Niles’ most recognizable buildings.

On Dec. 9, the Spectrum Health Lakeland board of directors approved a $1.34 million hospital renovation to take place at the Niles hospital.

Dennis Disch, M.D. and chief medical officer/chief operating officer at the Spectrum Health Lakeland Niles Hospital, said the demolition work has already begun on the wing to be used for bariatric and orthopedic units. The construction is projected to take about six months to complete.

“We are taking it all the way down to the studs,” Disch said.

The Niles hospital is the primary facility for bariatric, or weight loss, surgeries performed in the Lakeland system.

“The plan is to build a seven-bed unit, to provide an expansion and bigger rooms,” Disch said. “[Bariatric surgery] is for the treatment of obesity. A lot of our patients are larger body inhabitants. They require special bariatric sized toilets, special bariatric sized beds, and they require a larger space.”

The expansion of the area, and reduction of eight rooms down to seven, will allow for the medical professionals to provide a higher level of care during patients’ recovery times.

“It will make the services more comfortable and more patient friends,” Disch said.

The rooms will also be utilized for patients with total joint replacements during their post-operative recovery, Disch said, because the equipment will be better adapted to their needs as well.

“Not only bariatric surgery patients, but orthopedic patients, also require more space to recover because very often thy have to be on special beds that allow them to transfer to get up after their surgery,” Disch said. “We try to get them up and moving after a total joint replacement. It takes a special type of bed to get them up, since they’re pretty immobile, typically. It’s difficult to do well in a typically-sized patient room.”

Disch hopes the additional room will result in even more success stories for the hospital’s programs.

“[The bariatric program] is very successful [at the Niles hospital]. The program has been very successful and a high-volume program for a number of years,” Disch said. “We are very proud of it. We are expanding quickly because we do have quite a few patients to have this done. This will allow us to continue that.”

The space being renovated is currently not in use. Patients currently recovering from surgery are doing so in the general recovery area of the hospital.

“The renovations are happening without impacting any of our current procedures,” Disch said.

During COVID-19, the Spectrum Health Lakeland Niles hospital has been concentrating on keeping the hospital open for procedures and surgeries.

“We do a lot of outpatient and overnight surgery,” Disch said. “It simplifies that process not having those patients co-existing with COVID-19 positive patients. We make sure they test COVID-19 negative before having procedures. We don’t want the COVID-19 negative patients to come in and have any risks. It has allowed us to proceed without disruption.”

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