BEAUFORT – To meet the growing demand for critical care services, Beaufort Memorial Hospital has opened a new, expanded Intensive Care Unit (ICU) able to accommodate 50 percent more patients.

As part of an extensive $5 million ICU renovation project, the number of rooms dedicated to patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses was increased from eight to 12.

Equipped with state-of-the-art cardiac monitors, lift equipment and special beds, the rooms are now larger, making it easier for medical staff to perform procedures and move equipment around as needed.

“Having extra space to maneuver is vital when you have several people in a room treating a patient,” said Diane Razo, Beaufort Memorial’s director of critical care. “With the upgraded equipment we’re able to provide the best care possible to our patients.”

Unlike the old ICU rooms that had no natural light, every room in the new department now has a window to the outside.

The rooms also were designed with a second window facing a central work alcove, allowing the staff to visually monitor patients from their nursing stations.

Four of the rooms are equipped with an overhead boom system that holds attachments and accessories needed to support critical patient care. With medical gases connected to the ceiling-mounted boom rather than a wall, the bed can be moved easily to allow access to the patient’s head and airway during a code situation.

“An overhead boom offers the greatest flexibility,” Razo said. “We can move the bed anywhere in the room and not have to climb over wires and lines attached to the wall.”

Along with a thoughtfully designed family waiting room, the ICU now has a separate consultation room where doctors can speak to their patient’s family in privacy.

Located on the second floor of the main hospital building, the space for the new ICU was created during the renovation of the Emergency Department three years ago. Now completed, the staff moved into the new quarters last week. Board-certified pulmonologist and critical care specialist Dr. Peter Manos is the unit’s medical director.

Community support underwrote nearly $450,000 of the cost of the new ICU.

“We are grateful to everyone who attended or otherwise supported the BMH Foundation’s 2014 and 2015 Valentine Balls which helped spearhead this effort,” said Alice Moss, Beaufort Memorial Foundation executive director.