St. Charles Parish Hospital cuts ribbon on facility upgrades

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 12, 2022

LULING — A bond referendum passed in 2021 paved the way for facility improvements at St. Charles Parish Hospital in Luling, expanding access to convenient and compassionate care for local patients.

A dual ribbon cutting ceremony was held November 8 in the Schoenberg Outpatient Diagnostic Center to celebrate the completion of the hospital’s new Outpatient Chemotherapy & Infusion Center and Caring Suite MRI.

St. Charles Parish CEO Keith Dacus said these spaces will promote a sense of tranquility, comfort and healing as care is administered.

The Caring Suite MRI aims to reduce patients’ anxiety and potential for re-scans with cutting-edge technology and a calming atmosphere that includes premium LED lighting and touchpad user interface, illuminated wall fixtures, and audio speakers for music selection.

“It’s a wide bore design, so we are able to treat patients who might be a little claustrophobic and nervous about getting an MRI done. It also has lights, a TV, and an option to select the music,” Dacus said. “You are able to flip it around so your head can stay out of the tube if you are needing to get a body scan done. Before, you couldn’t do that. The other piece of it is that, with the newer technology, these scans used to take 30 to 45 minutes, and now they can be done in 15 to 20 minutes.”

Imaging services are used for bone densitometry, CT scans, MRis, Mammography, nuclear medicine, radiology and sonography. These services, along with other outpatient services, are available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The community also got a first look at the new St. Charles Parish Hospital Chemotherapy and Infusion Center, which was modeled after the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center to give patients continuity in environment and treatment processes as they continue their chemotherapy journey closer to home.

The infusion center began with just two chairs and has since grown to seven chairs, including a private room that can be used for patient care requiring one-on-one attention. Staff member Katherine Ferguson said each station has comfortable seating outfitted with a television to help pass the time. Complimentary services include warm blankets, soft recliners, chairside televisions and refreshments.

Whether the goal of treatment is to cure, control illness or provide palliative care, the infusion team offers an outpouring of love and support to patients and their families. Improving infusion services close to home also limits travel time for patients who may not feel up to driving 45 minutes for treatment.

“I think St. Charles Parish is a community-driven parish, so this is really going to allow more people who are suffering with cancer to really stay in their own backyard and still receive top-notch care,” Ferguson said. “The difference between the St. Charles Parish Infusion Center compared to other centers is that our team here really takes pride in their patients and the care that they provide.”

In addition to chemotherapy and immunotherapy, infusion services available from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday also include blood transfusions, iron transfusions, hydration, antiemetics therapy, pain management, and treatment for gastrointestinal and autoimmune disorders.

“This would not have been possible without the residents of the parish,” Dacus said. “These are two projects that are kicking off the bond referendum passed in 2021. We have seven projects underway in different phases.”

Dacus previewed some upcoming projects, including a renovation that will equip the hospital’s pharmacy to mix chemotherapy for the new infusion center. On the north side of the hospital, land has been flattened for the development of a behavioral health intensive outpatient program.

Located on Paul Maillard Road in Luling, St. Charles Parish Hospital has served the community since 1959. The facility is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and managed by Ochsner Health.

This year, St. Charles Parish Hospital earned an ‘A’ hospital safety grade by The Leapfrog Group for meeting the highest safety standard in the United States.

For more information, visit www.ochsner.org/stch.