Rapides Regional Medical Center will soon have 18 more patient beds thanks to a $4.12 million remodel of the former Riverside Hospital.

The fifth floor location vacated by Riverside in 2016 will be converted into an 18-bed universal patient area.

“This unit will be a universal bed model,” said Barbara Griffin, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Rapides Regional Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer. “This is an innovative care delivery system that allows patient care to be managed in one setting.”

The space will be designed much like RRMC’s existing intensive care units, with patient pods, where services such as telemetry, critical care and med/surg nursing care can all be administered.

 “The benefit is continuity in care,” Griffin said. “Patients are able to remain with the same staff and providers. You could start out as a coronary bypass patient, then step down to telemetry and be discharged home all from the same room.”

An additional 18 licensed beds will make Rapides Regional Medical Center a 346-bed facility.

“This project was developed to meet the needs of our community,” Griffin said. “We needed more space to take care of our critical ill patients and provide the latest in evidence-based patient care.”

The $4.12 million project is currently in the demolition stage. Tudor Construction is handling demolition and construction. The project is expected to be complete by July 2019.

 “This is another example of Rapides Regional Medical Center providing healthcare on a higher level as we meet the healthcare demands of our neighbors in Central Louisiana,” said Jason Cobb, Chief Executive Officer of Rapides Healthcare System and Rapides Regional Medical Center. “While our visitors will encounter a few aspects of the demolition and construction projects, most of the activity will be isolated to the fifth floor. When the fifth floor is ready to receive patients, it will be worth it.”