The next century in Calvert County’s institutional health care is looking up in more ways than one.

CalvertHealth Medical Center, formerly known as Calvert Memorial Hospital, will soon open its newly constructed patient tower. The Prince Frederick facility remains a reworking in progress and will for some time as the $51 million project continues.

“This tower is an all-new building,” said CalvertHealth Chief Operating Officer Anthony Bladen. “The rest of the project involves existing buildings.”

Bladen told The Calvert Recorder the completed portion of the project will be open to the public by July 1. At that point, hospital visitors will again be able to enter the facility through the front entrance lobby. Several inspections have been conducted by the state and county, including the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Calvert County Department of Planning and Zoning. Bladen said the building’s use and occupancy permit is pending.

The new portion of the hospital provides upgrades in convenience, privacy, mobility, and, as Bladen, affirmed, safety. “It will be all about safety,” he said, as he and other hospital staff demonstrated various components that will address previous concerns.

The entire project is designed to transition the hospital to a facility that has all private rooms for patients.

“Right now you have two beds in each room,” said Calvert Health Corporate Communications Associate Vice President Theresa Johnson. The 40 new rooms — 20 on each floor — will all have the latest hospital safety technology.

Even the beds are high-tech. The components are in place to prevent patients from falling out of bed, getting out of bed without the assistance of a nurse, alarms and alerts that give staff a heads-up if something is amiss within a patient’s room and commands (that may be programmed in any language) to ensure patients don’t move about without staff assistance. The “smart beds” have sensors that can instantly activate the alarm. The alert is transmitted to three main consoles in the hospital, “anywhere a nurse is going to be, throughout the floor,” Bladen said.

Each floor has two isolation rooms, which are equipped with lifts for moving immobile patients.

“This is the latest and greatest technology that’s used,” Bladen said.

Each room has a portal, which provides medical information for the patient to review. As comfortable as the patient’s smart bed is, family members can also catch a few winks while visiting on the room’s comfortable, adjustable sofa. The floors also have conference rooms for staff to meet.

Purchasing the pricey components was done only after hospital administrators mulled over all of the options, and the clinical staff provided input. Despite the high cost, Bladen affirmed the hospital has no intention of raising what a patient or their family pay for a hospital stay.

Previous hospital visitors will notice changes to the lobby. The changes include a larger gift shop, which will have a wider selection of merchandise. Johnson said volunteers staff the gift shop and the revenue is used by the hospital foundation. There are new elevators in the lobby and a wooden and glass partition to provide privacy to friends and family who have assembled or are waiting there.

Aesthetically, CalvertHealth Medical Center has the soothing, pleasing visual that patients, family members, visitors and health care providers need in an often stressful time.

Johnson said several works by local artists are on display. Local photographer Terry Quinn has provided images of county landmarks. Each floor will have a theme of Calvert County’s heritage, such as its marine and agriculture communities.

“The main benefit is it’s a safer and much better healing environment,” Bladen said. “There’s more privacy. It’s exciting for the community. For those of us who live here, this is where all your family and friends come, so you want to have the best.”

CalvertHealth Medical Center is the county’s largest private employer. The expansion project has created several temporary construction and contractor jobs during its duration. Bladen said the work should be completed by next summer.

Twitter: @CalRecMARTY