04:35am Monday 18 November 2019

'You couldn’t ask for better treatment'

click to enlarge Shannon Jones (L), who grew up in Hillsborough, and Price in Price’s room on the Observation Unit. Jones felt so comfortable with the quality of care and the comfort of the room that she left Price alone overnight to rest.

click to enlarge Price holds his four-month-old grandson who traveled from Burlington to visit him in his room.

'You couldn’t ask for better treatment'by Zach Read – zachary.read@unchealth.unc.edu

Last Monday, shortly after taking a lunch break at his Raleigh job, Kevin Price, of Hillsborough, noticed something wasn’t right. He felt like he had indigestion.

Time passed, but the pain grew progressively worse. It continued into Tuesday. He thought he must have picked up an infection from an area hospital where his father was being treated.

On Wednesday, he was in so much pain that he decided to go to the Emergency Department (ED) at UNC Hospitals. He and his partner of thirteen years, Shannon Jones, were on their way to Chapel Hill when Jones’s mom advised them to try UNC’s new ED in Hillsborough.

The 10-bed Emergency Department at the Hillsborough Hospital opened on July 6. In total, the Hillsborough Hospital has 83 beds — 68 licensed inpatient beds and 15 outpatient beds.

“She told us they’d opened on Monday, so we turned around, went to the Hillsborough ED, and within minutes we were receiving care,” Price said.

Price quickly learned from the ED team that his diverticulitis, a painful condition in which pouches form on the wall of the colon and become inflamed or infected, had likely been aggravated. He was admitted for pain management and observation – it turns out he was the first patient to move from the ED to the Observation Unit at the new hospital.

For Price, who works two jobs, the news that he would be admitted was not ideal, but he was so pleased with the care he had received in the ED, as well as the overall comfort of the new facility, that he knew he would be in good hands in the Observation Unit.

“The best experience I’ve ever had in a hospital was here,” he said as he was being discharged the following morning. “The people who treated me were great and so friendly and had extremely good bedside manner – better than anywhere else I’ve ever been. The rooms here are more like a hotel than a hospital.”

Dr. Eric Edwards, director of hospital medicine at the newly opened Hillsborough hospital, cared for Price after his admission to the Observation Unit from the ED. Edwards officially transitioned to the Hillsborough hospital from Chapel Hill in June and has been working on aspects of the new facility for more than a year. While the Hillsborough hospital’s state-of-the-art facilities are important to providing positive experiences for patients, Edwards said that he’s most excited about how Price and future patients feel about the individuals who are providing their care.

“We have recruited the finest people from both Chapel Hill and outside hospitals and experiences to work here and contribute to the development of a new and distinct culture here,” Edwards said. “We have smaller teams, but that’s an advantage because we get to know each other better, learn each other’s habits, and learn to work together better. I’ve already seen that in play as the Hillsborough project has developed and now opened, and I think Mr. Price benefited from that, and our future patients will benefit as well.”

Price said that he would prefer not to find himself in a position where he has to be admitted into the hospital again any time soon, but if he does, he wants to be in Hillsborough.

“You couldn’t ask for better treatment,” he said.

While admitted, Price was so comfortable in his surroundings that he allowed his four-month-old grandson, who came to visit him with his daughter, from Burlington, to sleep on the bed.

“That says pretty much everything you need to know about how safe I felt being there – I’d let my grandson sleep on the bed,” he said, laughing.

Price’s experience is one that Edwards expects to see more of as the Observation Unit grows – a patient who lives nearby and takes advantage of the convenience of the services provided at Hillsborough.

“Everything went smoothly for Mr. Price, and I’m glad we were able to provide his care right here in his backyard,” said Edwards. “Rather than having to go to Chapel Hill, worry about parking, and wait in the emergency department there, he received care within twenty minutes of walking in the door, got his CT scan and was moved to the observation unit, and we were able to get him discharged before 9 a.m. the next morning.”

For more information and stories about UNC Health Care’s Hillsborough Campus:

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