POCAHONTAS - A nearly $4.7 million investment in local health care was on display Wednesday evening at Pocahontas Community Hospital.
During an open house, hospital staffers guided residents through the building so that they could see the results of an 11-month-long project.
James Roetman, the hospital's administrator and chief executive officer, said the work included 5,800 square feet of new construction, mostly on the building's southeast side, plus renovations to the existing structure. What he called a ''healing garden,'' featuring plants and a small stream through which water constantly recirculates, was created in an interior courtyard.
He said the project began on May 1, 2012, and was completed by April 15.
The size of the hospital's laboratory was increased by 35 percent, according to Roetman. The lab area now has two rooms in which patients go to get blood samples taken, which reduces the amount of time patients must wait.
''There's no question our efficiency and output got much better,'' Roetman said.
Administrative offices that were once scattered throughout the hospital were consolidated into the new addition on the building's southeast side.
''You can ask, what does that have to do with patient care,'' Roetman said. ''Well, when we can communicate and become more efficient, it improves our patient care.''
Other changes produced by the project include:
An expanded cafeteria and a dining room that also serves as a board room.
A new area for the medical records department designed to accommodate electronic recordkeeping.
A remodeled nurse's station.
Updates to all of the hospital's entrances.
Improved waiting rooms.
A new work area for the home care and hospice staff.
A new employee lounge and locker room.
An additional registration desk near the clinic.
A relocated respiratory therapy department.
Graham Construction Co, of Des Moines, was the construction manager for the project.