Lourdes Specialty Hospital Completes Second Expansion

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Expanded long-term acute care (LTAC) hospital will help further meet care needs of area residents.

“Since our first expansion in 2012, there was a continued demand. This second expansion is expected to serve more area residents in need of this care." Cheri Cowperthwait, RN, Lourdes Specialty Hospital 's CEO

Lourdes Specialty Hospital of Southern New Jersey, a hospital for seriously ill acute patients who require extended hospital stays before returning home, is expanding. Located on two floors of Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, the hospital more than doubled its capacity.

This is the second phase of expansion for Lourdes Specialty Hospital, which opened in 2005. Last year, it renovated the former maternity wing at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, growing from 30 licensed beds in 18 rooms to 69 licensed beds in 54 rooms. Renovations to the hospital’s original space on the third floor began in October.

“The primary purpose of an LTAC is to give patients the long-term healing time for their strength and improved health before going home or being transferred to another level of care, such as a rehab hospital or skilled nursing facility,” says Cheri Cowperthwait, RN, the Specialty Hospital's CEO. “We have seen an overwhelming need for long-term acute care services in our area. Since our first expansion in 2012, there was a continued demand. This second expansion is expected to serve more area residents in need of this care.”

The improved third-floor space is decorated in warm, soothing colors, and includes upgraded technology and environmental systems.

Lourdes Specialty Hospital is a partnership between Lourdes Health System and Acuity Healthcare of Charlotte, N.C. It is the first long-term acute care hospital in southern New Jersey. Lourdes Specialty Hospital is one of two LTACs in South Jersey and the largest of its kind in the Delaware Valley.

Completely integrated within Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, Lourdes Specialty Hospital operates as a separate and distinct hospital. It accepts and has provided care to patients from 36 regional referring hospitals. “We have some of the most critically ill patients of any LTAC in the United States,” says Cowperthwait, “with patients hailing from southern and central New Jersey, Philadelphia and its suburbs. These patients do not have options to go elsewhere. Lourdes fills that need for many residents around the region.”

Patients treated at LTACs like the Lourdes Specialty Hospital will typically have a longer length of stay than acute care hospitals, averaging 25 days compared to five days. This is due to patients’ complex medical and rehabilitative needs. Patients are admitted directly from short-stay hospitals, often from intensive care units, with ventilator-dependent respiratory failure or other complex medical conditions that require aggressive and continuous acute-care services. The specialty hospital is designed for patients with:

  •     Cardiopulmonary conditions;
  •     Trauma,
  •     A severe medical illness or post-operative problem, or
  •     The development of an acute illness superimposed on a chronic illness like malnutrition, cardiac disease or COPD.

Lourdes Specialty Hospital has a staff of 270 physicians and a clinical team of more than 200, consisting of clinical case management staff, licensed clinical social workers, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, registered dieticians, certified wound ostomy nurses, physical, occupational and speech therapists and clinical pharmacists. A physician-driven, interdisciplinary team approach is used to deliver comprehensive, personalized care. Patients see their attending physician daily and have access to specialists.

In addition, each patient is assigned a nurse case manager and social worker who work with the family and physicians to ensure coordinated care. Notes Cowperthwait, “We place great effort on bringing the family and all other caretakers into the patient plan of care as part of the healing process. This tremendously impacts the patient’s recovery for the better when all care parties are involved.

“The new hospital was designed to technologically support critically ill patients in an environment warm and comfortable. We could not have achieved so much without the support of our partners and the regional medical community.”

For more information, to make a referral or to reach the management and staff of Lourdes Specialty Hospital of Southern New Jersey, call 609-835-3650.

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Jennifer McGowan-Smith
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