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Charlie Norwood VA hospital unveils newly renovated unit

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 11:48 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center unveiled a newly renovated unit Wednesday.

Unit 6A is meant to serve as a prototype – possibly laying the groundwork for other renovations across the hospital to come. But here’s a bigger picture and a larger movement behind the new renovation.

In a game of word association, the phrase “hospital room” might correlate to dark, isolated and cold.

But behind the freshly cut ribbon at Charlie Norwood is a view of downtown.

And if you peek through the large, east-facing windows, you’ll find “a lot of natural lighting, home-like environment,” said LaGaunda Jones, chief nurse for hospital services.

New décor and new furniture await the first patients.

“Natural light just makes you feel better. It makes our Veterans feel better, it allows them to be able to just relax. Get some vitamin D,” said LaShonya Benjamin, Unit 6A assistant nurse manager.

“We have recliners coming in for the family members to be able to stay overnight when that’s necessary,” said Jones.

There are isolation units, which help with COVID and tuberculosis patients. And there’s something else that won’t wander into the private units of 6A: a certain noise from a neighbor behind a single curtain.

“The two and three bedrooms are a thing of the past,” said Benjamin. “You don’t have the other patient beside you with their monitor or their IV pump beeping.”

Privacy, space for visitors, natural light and décor.

“All of that creates an environment in this unit that we did not have several decades ago prior to this modernization,” said Jones.

And the hope is the more you feel at home at Charlie Norwood, the more likely you’ll be able to return to your real one.

And there are other efforts across our area to provide better environments for hospital patients. Augusta University Health’s new cardiovascular unit has the same focus. They tell us they’ll be using natural landscaping in their new Columbia County campus to promote a healing environment.

And as for the VA’s new unit – it’ll open up on Monday.

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