CHIPLEY – Northwest Florida Community Hospital is upgrading its patient, resident, and staff comfort levels, thanks to a donation of 72 hospital beds from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
The donation was made possible through the Division of Emergency Management’s preparation to accommodate a surge in patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state had purchased a surplus of hospital beds in an effort to get ahead of the demand, and now some of those beds have found their home in Washington County.
The donated beds – valued at more than $624,000 – were delivered to the facility earlier this week and will replace all the hospital’s older beds, which are an average of about 16 years old.
NFCH CEO Michael Kozar says the beds will help both staff and those receiving care.
“These beds bring a tremendous benefit to our staff,” said Kozar. “Not only are they far more comfortable, they also have newer features such as scales for weighing patients. There are also alarms and beds that can be lowered all the way to the floor to better ensure the safety of patients or residents who may be fall risks.”
Linda Mitchell, Nurse Manger for the medical-surgical nursing department (“med-surg”), says she is thrilled about what the upgraded beds mean for her patients and staff.
“If I was ever able to do a cartwheel, today would be the day,” laughed Mitchell. “These beds have a lot of features that will improve both patient care and staff safety. If we have a patient we need to weigh every day, we don’t have to move them, which reduces risks such as falls. This is very exciting for all of us.”
Chief Nursing Office Connie Swearingen agrees.
“We are very blessed to receive this donation,” said Swearingen. “To see the leadership and staff be able to offer these new beds to the community is a big deal.”
With 34 of the beds going to NFCH’s third floor skilled nursing unit, each of the hospital’s long-term care residents will receive a brand new bed.
There are eight new beds earmarked for ICU and four stretchers which will be used the operating room and emergency room. The remaining beds will be utilized by the med-surg department.
Kozar says the beds are “truly a gift.”
“We just can’t thank the state enough,” he said. “We really couldn’t afford to replace all of our beds at once, and this is just truly a gift.”