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LIJ Valley Stream unveils new orthopedic unit

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Administrators at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital unveiled the facility’s new $13.5 million Orthopedic Unit at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 1.

“We’re looking forward to getting our first patients in here and really giving them a different experience for the patients and their families,” said Steve Bello, the hospital’s executive director.

The nearly 10,000-square-foot facility will serve patients who have undergone musculoskeletal surgeries, including joint replacements, minimally invasive procedures and re-operations for sports-related injuries. It was necessary, according to Nicholas Sgaglione, chairman of orthopedic surgery for Northwell Health, because the orthopedic unit has been growing. Last year it performed 15,000 in-patient and 16,000 outpatient procedures.

Designed to make patients’ stays easier and allow the medical staff to be more attentive to their needs, according to Bello, the facility features 18 single-occupancy rooms, each with a bathroom and shower. The bathroom doors slide open so they cannot close on a patient. The showers are easily accessible, with no tubs to step over. There are also different lighting styles, swiveling televisions and futons that convert into twin-sized beds for family members to stay overnight.

“I think if you look around, the unit looks more like a hotel than it does a hospital,” Bello said. “That was really the goal.”

To facilitate easy access, patients in the unit can call nurses from their beds, and have nurses respond to them through the system. The unit’s physical therapy department will also be located in the facility, and medication will be in locked drawers next to patients’ beds. “This helps cater to their needs quicker,” said Yessenia Williams, the nurse manager.

The new facility took a year to build, and will open for patients once the hospital receives its certificate of occupancy.

It is the latest change to the hospital’s Orthopedic Unit over the past few years. In 2017, Northwell Health partnered with Rockville Centre-based Orlin & Cohen Orthopedic Associates LLP, and had surgeons work with the hospital’s surgical staff to develop an award-winning unit. That year, the unit received the highest rating in knee and hip replacement surgery from the Joint Commission’s Healthcare Quality Certification.

“We have some of the best outcomes in the country in orthopedic care,” said Jason Naidich, central region executive director for Northwell Health. “That’s because of the people who are delivering the care.”

The care that the unit offers enabled Kate Beckman, a Rockville Centre resident, to climb Gorham Mountain in Acadia National Park in Maine this year, after she underwent four hip replacement surgeries in March and November. She stayed in the hospital for only one day after each surgery, she said.

“I was very relaxed, very comfortable,” Beckman said. “I cannot recommend it enough.”

But the new facility is only the beginning for the hospital, according to Naidich. The façade of the building is also being redone, and the hospital will soon begin renovating its Emergency Department.

“I think this hospital has a tremendously bright future,” Naidich said.