Area residents have another choice for a hospital after MetroHealth’s new facility opened Jan. 4 in Cleveland Heights. Hospital representatives said they are prepared to serve the area, which includes a large Orthodox community.
The hospital, at 10 Severance Circle, is blocks from an Orthodox neighborhood, the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, Yeshiva Derech HaTorah and many synagogues. It will have 12 private patient bedrooms, in addition to an existing emergency room and medical offices, which have been open since 2016.
The hospital is designed to accommodate adults, said Dr. Bernard Boulanger, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at MetroHealth, though the emergency room will continue to treat children as needed.
“This is set up to treat very common adult conditions,” Boulanger said. “So, we’re not looking after any children here. There’s no deliveries occurring here, as well. So, the conditions looked after here would be things like asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), mild heart failure, dehydration, very common medical conditions will be cared for here. A lower acuity of patients. Anyone who needs care more than that would be moved to our main campus (near West 25th Street in Cleveland).”
The team at MetroHealth also said it would work to enhance the patient experience, particularly for the Orthodox community.
MetroHealth consulted Rabbi Akiva Feinstein, a full-time chaplain at Montefiore in Beachwood who also works through the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s chaplaincy program, for advice on better serving the needs of Jewish patients.
“We had a simulation day where we had all the staff come together on site, sat with the staff and (Feinstein) answered their questions,” said Kim Svoboda, director of business development and integration for MetroHealth.
Svoboda said the staff’s plan is to partner with Orthodox patients to determine what they need, adding the staff is more than willing to accommodate patients’ religious needs, particularly on Shabbat.
“The staff, in general, has an understanding of the needs (of the community),” she said. “They’re willing to open doors and turn on lights. They’re working through creative solutions to make it easier for them. It’s really going to come down to partnering to make sure we know what (patients) need. But for the most part, the staff is willing to help with whatever is necessary.”
Although patients and their families now can receive kosher food through the hospital, by fall, Bikur Cholim, a group that works to improve health and well being of the Jewish community, also will make kosher food available.
“We’re really excited that MetroHealth is embracing the community and going out of the way to take initiative and accommodate for the needs of the Orthodox community,” said Rabbi Alan Joseph, director of development for Bikur Cholim of Cleveland, who added that members of his organization were in contact with MetroHealth from the beginning of the hospital’s development.
Representatives from MetroHealth’s staff said they are ready to assist the community, too.
“Our staff is very earnest with learning about everything that should be done and needs to be done for this patient population,” said Tina Arundel, manager of public and media relations at MetroHealth.
The new hospital’s patient rooms will have large windows, allowing for natural light to reach each room. Svoboda said each patient bed is new and designed for maximum comfort, with little touches, including a notification system to let nurses and staff know if a patient needs assistance or if there’s a setting on the bed that isn’t adjusted properly. Each room also has a chair for a caretaker or family member that can expand into a bed for overnight stays.
“We really tried to make this a personalized, intimate environment,” Svoboda said. “People can still feel like they’re in their community even though they’re in a hospital.”