Tampa VA Polytrauma Patients Get New Rooms, Showers

VA nurse manager Marti Veneman shows off the private, wheelchair accessible showers available in every Polytrauma Unit room.

Overcoming multiple combat wounds is tough enough, but imagine sharing a shower with eight other patients while you do it. That’s what combat veterans were doing at Polytrauma Unit at Tampa’s James A. Haley VA Hospital prior to renovations.

Monday the VA staff cut the yellow ribbon to unveil the renovated Polytrauma unit designed to speed the recovery of the most severely injured and disabled combat veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Haley is one of four VA hospitals with a Polytrauma Unit in the U.S.  Marti Veneman is nurse manager of the unit and can’t wait to move into the updated wing.

“We have ceiling lifts throughout so that no nurse has to lift a patient and so patients can be safe,” Veneman said. “They won’t fall and we can take them from the bed into the shower. Every room has its own beautiful shower.”

Marti Veneman shows off the ceiling patient lift available in all the Polytrauma Unit rooms.

Right now the Polytrauma unit has two showers shared by as many as 18 patients. Veneman says scheduling showers was tricky and now will be no problem.

The renovated wing, known as 5-West, is bright, airy and with plenty of space so wheelchairs can move easily. The private rooms are equipped with special glass that goes opaque and provides privacy with a flip of the switch.

Army Sgt. Amber Greer, 22, is recovering from a Traumatic Brain Injury suffered during a car accident. She says pleasant, calm surroundings help patients heal more quickly.

“This is such a nice wing that they’ve opened here,” Greer said. “It’s so comfortable, so homey and to me that comfortablity it is so important to your recovery.”

Before the patients were moved in, the public was invited to check out the 14 private rooms. The renovation to the Polytrauma unit is a stop-gap. The Haley VA has a 50-bed Polytrauma unit under construction.

%d bloggers like this: