Winter Park Memorial Hospital is looking to expand – a reaction to the area’s growing senior population.
A proposed expansion for the hospital would include a new patient pavilion with 80 treatment rooms and 160 future beds, along with an expanded Emergency Department with two new triage rooms, 16 new private treatments rooms and 12 new rapid treatment rooms for minor emergencies.
Existing areas of the Emergency Department will also be renovated and a new entrance will be placed along Lakemont Avenue.
“These new spaces almost double the capabilities of the current [Emergency Department],” Winter Park Memorial Hospital CEO Ken Bradley said.
Bradley added that the expansion is meant to keep up with a growing elderly population. Winter Park Memorial Hospital has seen a 4 percent increase this year in inpatient admissions and nearly 25,000 seniors live within a 5-mile radius of the hospital, a population expected to grow in the next 15 years, he said.
“As individuals live longer and longer, their healthcare needs dramatically increase,” Bradley said. “Coupled with the growing senior population, the group who cares for these seniors as well as themselves and their children will also continue to grow.”
“It is with these residents in mind that Winter Park Memorial Health is expanding its services and specializing in care to meet each of these groups’ unique needs.”
The planned expansion/renovation is just the latest endeavor by the hospital to improve their facilities. Since 2012, Winter Park Memorial Hospital has opened Florida Hospital for Women at Winter Park, renovated and expanded the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute at Winter Park and built a new parking garage.
But recent efforts to expand the hospital haven’t all been met with support from local residents. In April 2014 the hospital was forced to relocate its cardiac-pulmonary rehab program to make way for an expansion of the facility’s Imaging and Radiology Department, set to open later this month.
Roughly 30 patients enrolled in the program were forced to attend the sessions at neighboring facilities in Orlando, Kissimmee and Apopka.
That concerned Winter Springs resident Fran Gramarosa, who made the drive to Winter Park twice a week to attend the sessions and knew patients in the program who commuted from as far away as DeBary and Chuluota.
Gramarosa had no choice but to attend the program in Downtown Orlando. The sessions were intended to help her prepare for a future transplant – she needed both of her lungs replaced.
“I don’t intend to just die,” Gramarosa told the Observer back in April 2014.
“I have to keep breathing.”
Bradley said no other programs would be affected by the latest proposed expansion, but that some hospital beds may be temporarily removed to make way for construction.
“For the time period of construction, several inpatient beds must be closed to accommodate the construction,” Bradley said. “Upon completion of the new Bed Pavilion, those beds will be relocated and reopened. There is a careful plan in place designed so our patients experience minimal disruption during the proposed construction.”
An expansion proposal will go before the city’s Planning and Zoning Board on Aug. 4, with a presentation before the City Commission planned for Aug. 24.