Commonwealth Regional Specialty Hospital, a long-term acute care hospital located within The Medical Center at Bowling Green, celebrated its 15th anniversary Tuesday.

Though housed in The Medical Center campus, Commonwealth Regional Specialty Hospital is a separate entity with its own board of directors, medical staff and employees.

The hospital offers respiratory care services, nutrition management, rehabilitation services and nursing services.

“It’s a hospital specializing in patients needing extended hospitalization,” said Christa Atkins, the hospital’s administrator. “We have patients that may have complex medical needs,” such as patients with renal failure requiring hemodialysis or patients needing antibiotics through IVs.

The hospital’s respiratory therapy department responds to traumatic accidents, long-term illnesses, cardiac conditions or lung diseases. Sometimes this might involve helping a patient wean off a ventilator.

Most patients are from the Barren River region and come directly from The Medical Center. But area patients who received care in Nashville, Louisville or elsewhere can also continue care at the specialty hospital closer to home.

Patients remain at the hospital for an average of 25 days, then transition to acute rehabilitation hospitals, swing beds – a Medicare program to allow patients who still require nursing services to remain in a hospital – or just go home without a need for additional care.

Commonwealth Health Corp. opened the 28-bed specialty hospital on the sixth floor of The Medical Center on June 4, 2004. Several staff members have remained there ever since.

“It’s like a family environment here,” Atkins said. “They are that way with the patients as well, I can say that with a very open heart. They are very loving people. This is what their passion is.”

In the triennial Community Health Needs Assessment, the hospital helped identify the focus areas of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and drug abuse addiction for the 10-county region.

“The hospital’s overall goal is to educate individuals on the importance of taking ownership of their health and well-being,” the assessment said.

There could also be an issue with attracting enough patients. In an earlier assessment, the hospital concluded it needed stronger efforts to market to physicians – because most patients are unaware of the facility’s existence. “With continual growth of physicians in the BRADD region we feel that this is an area that continues to need focus during the years 2016-2018,” the assessment said.

If patients or the loved ones of patients want to learn more about the hospital, contact staff at 270-796-6200.

“If they want to see if they might benefit from our services, they could give us a call,” Atkins said.

– Follow reporter Caroline Eggers on Twitter @eggersdailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.

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