Posted on December 7, 2012

Newburyport Daily News

NEWBURYPORT — Anna Jaques Hospital opened its doors last week to its new 18-bed Institution for Savings Inpatient Unit. The new unit transforms Anna Jaques into a primarily single-occupancy hospital and ensures nearly every overnight patient will have a private room for enhanced privacy, infection control and healing..

Private rooms, offered at no additional cost to the patient or insurance company, improve infection control throughout the unit, promote a positive environment for healing and provide privacy for medical discussion and treatments, hospital officials say.

Anna Jaques is one of a small number of hospitals in Massachusetts to offer single-room availability for most patients.

The newly constructed unit, named after the Institution for Savings bank in Newburyport for its $1.5 million gift, was made possible thanks to an enthusiastic Capital Campaign Committee led by Charles R. Cullen, CEO of The Provident Bank. Over the course of three years, this committee dedicated its time, gave meaningful gifts and became advocates for patients who had voiced their preference for single rooms.

Each private room features its own personal bathroom and shower, a window with a view, flat-screen television and a chair or couch that becomes a bed for a loved one who is welcome to spend the night. The rooms are also equipped with advanced information technology capabilities, including improved vital sign technology that downloads each patient’s data directly into his or her electronic medical record to reduce errors. The hallways of the unit are lined with photography and paintings from local artists depicting often recognizable scenes from the surrounding community.

Darcy Hammer, owner of Byfield-based Le Reve Floral and Garden Design, was the first patient admitted to the new unit. In a press release, she said she was immediately struck by “the beauty of the unit and the warm and friendly staff.

“I was brought into my room, which felt so luxurious, just like a hotel room with lighting on dimmer switches, a beautiful bathroom with walk-in shower and a gorgeous view out the window with handmade mahogany lattice,” Hammer said,. “I am self-employed and rarely have the chance to relax and sleep, and this room created the perfect cocoon. ... I slept all day,”

“With the opening of the new unit, Anna Jaques is poised for continued growth and success as a high-quality, lower-cost community hospital,” said George E. Ellison Jr., chairman of the Anna Jaques Hospital Board of Trustees. “Anna Jaques has served the people of the eastern Merrimack Valley, North Shore and southern New Hampshire border towns for 118 years and we plan to continue that legacy for many, many years to come.”

In addition to Charles R. Cullen, members of the Capital Campaign Committee include Anna Jaques president and chief executive officer Delia O’Connor; Mark Goldstein, vice president of finance and chief financial officer; Sarah Gnerre, vice president of development; Drs. Michele Sasmor, Saira Naseer Ghiasuddin, Ben Heersink and Maury Fremont-Smith; Ellison, Byron J. Matthews, Wayne Capolupo, and Ann Lagasse.

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