Hillsborough Hospital To Host Open House On Saturday

The paint is still drying on the walls of Hillsborough’s new hospital, but this Saturday, UNC Health Care officials are opening the doors to let the public see the four-story facility for the first time.

Jeff Strickler is the associate vice president for UNC Health Care’s Hillsborough Campus. He says the new 68-bed facility is designed to be a community hospital.

“This emergency department has ten rooms and is projected to see somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 patients per year. It is a fully-capable emergency department; we have emergency medicine here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can take all ages from newborn delivery all the way up to an elderly patient.”

It will also be the new home for several departments currently located in Chapel Hill. Strickler says many elective surgical practices will relocate to Hillsborough, including joint surgery, spinal surgery, ophthalmology and gynecology.

“We went to a number of our physicians and said, ‘are you interested in coming to Hillsborough?’ They evaluated their patient population and their own service needs and those were the services that said, ‘yes, we see a benefit to our patients and we’d like to come to Hillsborough.’”

The medical offices are already open in a building adjacent to the main hospital. The emergency department will begin taking patients in July. Outpatient surgery and inpatient services are slated to begin in August and September.

But before that happens, members of the public are invited to take a look around. Strickler says the open house might be your best chance to see the inside of an operating room without having to be wheeled in on a gurney.

The hospital will be open to the public for self-guided tours from 2 pm-4 pm on Saturday at 430 Waterstone Drive in Hillsborough. You can find more information here.


A Spike in Flu Activity is Causing Restrictions for Visitors at Local Hospitals

We are entering the heart of flu season across the Tar Heel state, and it looks like this year’s version of the virus is particularly dangerous. That has caused some hospital systems to set limits on patient visitation.

The Durham VA Medical Center is the latest to add their name to the growing list of medical service providers placing restrictions on visitors during particularly heavy portions of the flu season.

Duke Medicine and the UNC Healthcare system have also placed restrictions on visitors, over the past few weeks.

In all of these cases, the restrictions are aimed at slowing the spread of influenza.

UNC Healthcare has stopped visitation from children under age 12 to any inpatient care unit.

At Duke University Health System Hospitals, children under 18 are only permitted to visit hospitals or wards when there has been prior approval and only in special circumstances. Patients at Duke Hospitals may also receive no more than two adult visitors at one time.

The Durham VA has also restricted visitation for anyone under the age of 18.

Anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms is also being restricted from visiting patients at all of the aforementioned healthcare facilities.

And if you are experiencing symptoms associated with influenza – including coughing, sneezing, runny nose, or a fever – you are being encouraged to contact a primary care doctor for an over-the-phone evaluation before visiting the hospital for treatment.

The flu has been particularly dangerous across North Carolina recently. During the 2013 – 2014 flu season, 107 North Carolinians died from flu-related illnesses, according to state health officials.

This season is shaping up to be just as dangerous. The latest numbers from the State Department of Health and Human Services report there have been 17 flu-related deaths since early October. That includes a spike in the last week of reporting with nine deaths the week ending December 27.

The flu vaccine has also been a major topic of debate this year, because the main strand of influenza was not covered by the shot.

You can still take measures to protect yourself from the flu. Doctors are still encouraging getting the flu shot, if you have not. While it does not guarantee you will not come down with the virus, it does offer a higher level of protection than avoiding the shot. Officials are also encouraging you to increase hand washing with soap and warm water. And if you do feel that you are developing symptoms of the flu, you are encouraged to limit contact with the general public, rest, remain hydrated, and contact your primary care physician.


UNC Hillsborough Hospital Now Open for Patients

HILLSBOROUGH – After breaking ground more than two years ago, UNC’s newest hospital in Hillsborough is open for patients.

The Hillsborough UNC hospital’s medical office opened July 1; the complete facility is still two years from completion.

Vice president of facilities planning and development for UNC Health Care, Ray Lafrenaye, says the 60,000 square foot building holds a number of different departments.

“Some of the clinics and services that are in the building are hematology, medical oncology, laboratory services, radiology, urology, GI medicine, dermatology and skin cancer, pelvic health, OB/GYN and surgical oncology,” Lafrenaye says.

Lafrenaye says the UNC Hillsborough hospital is an extension of the main campus hospital, built to transfer the high volume of patients to another treatment location.

“Right now, on the main campus, we’re at 90 percent, 95 percent capacity, running most of the time,” Lafrenaye says.

The main campus’s high volume is due largely to UNC being a state hospital, thus taking patients from all over the state.

Lafrenaye says the hospital itself should be finished on July 2015. It will be 256,000 square feet and will hold 68 patient beds.