Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital’s groundbreaking ceremony could not have happened on a more beautiful day. The sun was bright and warmed about 150 people, including community members, hospital staff, and foundation and board members. All gathered around the future ICU location as the hospital and foundation members broke ground to celebrate the progress and show their support for the new $3.2 million intensive care unit.
The community and hospital have recognized the tremendous need for the new facility. The hospital’s current Intensive Care Unit is often full to capacity. The average annual ICU demand doubled from 2010 to 2012 from 169 patients to 320. It is projected to double again by 2014. The entire valley relies on the hospital’s intensive care unit for emergency, trauma, and surgery purposes. In response to this need, Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital is upgrading its 492 square foot, three-bed intensive care unit that was built in 1975 to 3,200 square feet with five glassed, private rooms with individual nursing observation areas. The intensive care unit will be located adjacent to the inpatient floor and to the west of the hospital’s main entrance for easy access.
None of this could happen without the overwhelming support from the community and hospital family. The initial funding began with an investment from staff, physicians, nurses, administration, both Hospital and Foundation Boards and volunteers of over $425,000, including a gift of $40,000 from the Auxiliary, whose members have a firsthand understanding of the urgency of this vision becoming reality. After the hospital’s “family” contribution, a donation of approximately $175,000 was received, jumpstarting fund raising to about $600,000.
The groundbreaking ceremony opened with Ron Kullick, Daly Hospital Foundation Director, thanking the community and expressing his deep appreciation for the support of the new ICU. Kullick was excited to announce the generous $800,000 anonymous donation that was made with a challenge from the donor for the community to match the funds. In response to this challenge, the Jane S. Heman Foundation donated $100,000, which put Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital well on its way to raising the money needed to complete the project. The original plan was to raise the money for the project first, but the board voted unanimously to move forward with the project because of the critical need for the facility.
Acute Care Nurses Jenna Hendrickson, Peggy McLaughlin, Heidi Etter and Cindy Rupp spoke specifically about the immediate needs of the new ICU and thanked everyone for attending. To better serve patients, the current ICU needs more rooms to avoid sending patients to Missoula. Not only does moving a patient pose many risks, it is an inconvenience and hardship for family and friends to travel back and forth to Missoula while caring for loved ones. The new facility will provide more comfort and privacy since only curtains divide the current three-bed intensive care unit. The additional space in each of the rooms will allow medical staff to be more efficient and maneuver around some of the much needed medical equipment while treating patients. The new intensive care unit will also provide a private lounge for visiting family and friends. All of the nurses and staff members are excited about the new facility and the many benefits the addition will provide to their patients.
Longtime board member Sonny LaSalle, and his wife Judy, came forward to champion the fund raising initiative for the new intensive care unit. LaSalle said he is honored and excited to be a part of this project and emphasized how critical and important it is to continue to move forward with the plans. “We are halfway there with the funding, but still need to raise approximately $1.4 million,” said LaSalle.
Bill Rummel has been in the valley all of his life and was born in the original hospital on 4th Street. He shared that as an insurance broker he has a friend in the medical business that travels to hospitals all over the nation and he said that Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital is one of the top five facilities in the nation.
After the groundbreaking ceremony was complete, everyone went into the hospital for cake and much needed coffee to warm up. Many gathered around the floor plan and exterior renderings to get a firsthand look of what the new intensive care unit will look like once it is completed.
“It is good to see so many community members sharing in yet another great milestone for Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital,” said Don Lodmell, PhD, Hospital Board Chairman.
“Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital continues to expand and meet the needs of its community with outstanding medical staff and state-of-the-art facilities. The new intensive care unit will truly enhance the care, quality of service, and comfort for the patients.”