SVHC Launches Website for Emergency Department Renovation Project

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BENNINGTON, Vt. — A $25.8 million project to renovate and expand the Emergency Department and Main Entrance of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), requires a lot of coordination and communication.
The health system has launched a website to facilitate sharing news and developments about the project directly with patients. The website is located at
"We want to share the excitement of this important project with our community," said Ray E. Smith, the administrative director of Corporate Development and public information officer for SVHC. "Additionally, the website and our ongoing communications will provide key updates to assist patients as they navigate our hospital campus during construction."
The new website includes a project summary, photos and videos, illustrated designs of what the new Emergency Department will look like, a parking map, a project timeline, and recent updates.  In addition to the website, SVHC will change directional signage and publish regular updates to the local media, social media, and its weekly e-mail newsletter.
"The entire staff is invested in making the patients' experience at SVMC as good as ever, even as we undergo these extraordinary changes," Smith says.
The current Emergency Department was designed 40 years ago. The construction project will nearly double the size of the current Emergency Department, which was designed to accommodate 14,000 patient visits a year but currently sees nearly 25,000 annually. The changes will further enhance patient safety, infection prevention, and patient privacy. Vertical treatment areas will allow for highly efficient treatment of low-acuity conditions. The project also includes an expansion to the Emergency Crisis Area for those experiencing mental health distress and increased telehealth connectivity with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. Outside the Emergency Department, the project includes renovations of the Main Entrance and café, outpatient registration area, the Imaging Department waiting area, and the phlebotomy and laboratory upgrades.

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SVMC Launches Patient and Family Advisory Council

BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), a part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), is gathering members for a new council made up of patients and their families. 
The new Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) aims to provide a forum for dialogue among patients, families, community members, and the health system as a way to ensure that the health system is meeting the needs of the community.
  • The group will be made up of 12 members of the community who have been patients at SVMC or who are a family member of a current or past patient at SVMC.
  • The group will meet every other month for an hour in the evening. Meetings will begin with a light dinner and chance to socialize before the business of the meeting begins.
  • The council will discuss patient safety, the quality of care, and patient comfort in the spirit of continual improvement.
"Our mission is to provide exceptional care and comfort to the people we serve,” said Paula Seaman, MSN, DA, RN, SVMC's administrative director of Quality, Safety, Value, and Education. "We hope that this new group will bring us closer to what patients and their families are really thinking and feeling about their experience with us and help us ensure that we are fulfilling that mission for every patient during every encounter.”
Additional volunteer opportunities—including relating with patients, joining regional advisory boards, and attending organizational meetings—may be extended to members of the council who are particularly suited for taking on a more expansive role.
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