A suite ride at SMH

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

FRANKLIN—Times have changed. And Southampton Memorial Hospital is rolling with those changes to meet patients’ needs.

The women’s suite at the hospital recently has been renovated, a project that hasn’t been undertaken since 1992.

“We needed to update the existing (suite) for what the modern woman wants today,” said Director of Business Development Kim Marks.

“At the same time, we have recruited two physicians to work in this unit.”

Obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Maurice Young and Pediatrician and Southampton County native Dr. Anrae Applewhite will join 13 registered and licensed practical nurses in the unit in the coming months.

The suite received new flooring, changed from the old tile to wood laminate. Wooden blinds also add to the new neutral color scheme, hues that Marketing Manager Anne Williams says are more warm, calming, open and inviting than the previous pink, aqua and lavender shades.

“Bettie (Nichols, clinical resource coordinator) and I always tell our nurses that having a baby is a happy life event,” said women’s suite director Susie Cobb. “This suite is more like home rather than being at a hospital.”

As well as renovated bathrooms and nurse’s station, the 11-room wing has new paint, cabinets, pictures and even a new roof.

“We’ve spent in excess of $250,000 on this renovation,” said Marks. “We’ve put 25 million into the hospital over the last six years, since its acquisition.”

An extensive new menu allows patients to order gourmet desserts, special entrees, all-time American favorites, as well as after-hour snacks. Someone visits the suite each day to take orders. In addition, a phone number to call an order in is included on the menu.

“We’ll continue to study (what patients want) and change the menu accordingly,” said Dietitian Dianne Vick.

The unit is also secure. Visitors have to check in at the information desk to gain access to the suite. A camera system is installed and the entire hospital staff is regularly trained in infant abduction drills.

According toWilliams, Southampton receives many patients from North Carolina and Emporia, as

no OB services are offered at the hospitals in those areas.

Mary Parker of Murfreesboro, N.C., who was in the new suite for surgery, had two of her children at Southampton Memorial.

“Dr. Clingenpeel has been my doctor for 25 years,” she said about why she chose the location. “As far as surgeries go, it’s been a pleasant stay.”

Parker gave birth in 1982 and in 1986.

“It was very different here then,” she said. “I didn’t even know where I was when I got here (for her recent surgery.) It was very nice and up-to-date.”

According to Marks, there were 252 deliveries performed at the hospital last year.

“We realize in today’s health care, people have a choice (about where they receive health care),” said Marks. “Some are looking for amenities as well as services when making a decision.

“We have been making upgrades and creating specialization (in areas) to encourage people to choose our hospital.”

For more information, log onto www.smhfranklin.com.