Dixie Regional Medical Center is finalizing four expansion projects that have been in the making for years, putting an end to the largest construction project in Washington County to date.
The $300 million consolidation effort nearly doubled the campus size, to more than 960,000 square feet.
The project will consolidate services previously offered at Dixie Regional Medical Center’s 400 East campus and add services that have previously never been offered in Southern Utah before.
The hospital is hosting a grand opening celebration Wednesday from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and offering self-guided tours Thursday through Saturday (find more details at end of the article).
Moms and babies get upgrades
Starting in November, all labor and delivery, NICU and other women’s services will be housed on two floors at the River Road campus, 1380 E. Medical Center Drive. Tiffany Hanson, director of women and newborn services, said there are a variety of rooms and services to best fit the needs of the community.
Hanson also said more rooms equipped with new technology have been added to meet the growing demand for labor and delivery services in Southern Utah.
“We have a much larger space,” Hanson said. “We were pushing capacity. These rooms are much larger, and what’s great is there’s more room for family and more room to get together and share this experience.”
Dixie Regional will offer eight labor and delivery rooms, two “simply birth” rooms, four rooms dedicated to low-intervention births and five high-risk rooms. There is also a space for patients who have extended hospital stays in the Mother and Newborn Center to gather and be out of their rooms.
Now there are 24 beds in the neonatal intensive care unit. Hanson said the women and newborn services team is equipped to care for babies who are born at 24 weeks gestation.
“We can care for them here now rather than having to transfer them out of the area,” Hanson said. “This neonatal intensive care unit serves five counties around here, into Nevada and Arizona. This consolidation project was crucial to support that group.”
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of making the individual rooms larger, Hanson said, is that families can stay together during their hospital stay. The rooms are now large enough to hold all the supplies a mother and newborn might need, and some rooms now have a baby-shaped bathtub where nurses and mothers can perform the baby’s first bath in the same room.
“It’s a huge hit with the parents,” Hanson said. “It’s something fun that we haven’t had in the past. Our patients like to keep their babies with them as much as possible.”
Access center simplifies mental health treatment
As St. George and the surrounding area continue to grow, Jeremy Nielsen, manager of Dixie Regional Medical Center’s behavioral health department, said the new access center will help give the community a mental health resource it has needed.
The access center is a 24-hour crisis center where patients who are having thoughts of possibly harming themselves, experiencing extreme depression or other mental health issues can receive assistance they need without having to be admitted into the in-patient facility.
“They can come here, spend 24 hours with us, have the opportunity to meet with therapists … there’s a lot of one-on-one time,” Nielsen said. We’re able to provide this fantastic community resource and get them in, have them see someone, and get them back into the community.”
Prior to the access center, patients would likely spend time on another medical floor and later be admitted to the behavioral medicine unit. Patients typically spent five days in behavioral med.
The new behavioral medicine unit will offer 18 beds for in-patient treatment. They have additional safety features such as half-doors and special glass, and there are no exposed pipes or heavy furniture.
Cancer center helps patients stay close to home
One of Dixie Regional’s newest standalone buildings, which will open in October, aims to fulfill the needs of cancer patients in Southern Utah.
The Intermountain Cancer Center of St. George stands at 120,000 square feet and cost around $72 million to build. The building will house Intermountain Precision Genomics as well as traditional oncology services.
In addition, it now offers a DNA-sequencing facility and a Stanford University Cancer Research Laboratory.
Although Utah is usually considered one of the nation’s healthiest states, Terri Draper, communication director for Dixie Regional Medical Center, said its incidence of cancer is around the national average.
“We also have a lower rate of smoking and some of the other contributing factors to cancer,” Draper said. “So the expectation would be that we’re lower than the average, but because we’re at the national average, it points out that we probably do have a higher rate (of cancer) than we would expect.”
Jane Jensen, director of the Intermountain Cancer Center of St. George, said patients can now enjoy the stress-free nature of healing in their own community.
“People want to be close to home when they have their care — they don’t want to travel 300 miles to have their care,” Jensen said. “The kind of care they can get here is really incredible.”