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Willmar hospital to expand space for wound and ostomy clinic

WILLMAR — Rice Memorial Hospital's outpatient clinic for wound, ostomy and continence care will soon be able to expand, thanks to an upcoming renovation that will add more space.

The hospital board of directors last week voted to move forward with drawing up the construction documents and obtaining bids. Bids will come back to the board this spring for final approval.

The project, estimated at $250,000, will create a third procedure room. Until now, the service has concentrated mainly on wound and ostomy care. The additional space will allow it to do more with continence care.

This is "an area our nurses want to expand into," said Wendy Ulferts, chief nursing officer at Rice Hospital.

There's considerable demand for the care provided by the wound, ostomy and continence program, she said, noting that patient volume has grown 25 percent in recent years.

The service provides specialized care for a variety of conditions, ranging from persistent bedsores and slow-healing wounds to ostomy management. It offers consultations and assessments as well as specialized therapy, care management plans and patient and family education.

The staff, which is led by two advanced-practice nurses, also is available for educational outreach.

"The skill sets of our nurses are tremendous," said Mike Schramm, chief executive of Rice.

He told the board that there's a need to expand the program's capacity. "We're close to outgrowing the space. It's the right thing to do. We've seen steady growth," he said.

Room is available next door to the program's existing space, allowing it to expand with the proposed renovation project, he said.

At some point the hospital may have to consider more staff as well for the wound, ostomy and continence program, Ulferts said.

Adding staff would help support the growth the program has seen, she said. "The patients are out there."

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at http://healthbeat.areavoices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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