by Kelly Anthony, Director, PR & Media Services
An estimated 150 community leaders, hospital staff and area residents turned out last week (Wednesday, January 20) to officially celebrate the grand opening of Lawrence & Memorial Hospital’s new Sleep Center located at the Hilton Garden Inn on Route 184 in Groton.
“Our town is proud to have the new center,” said Town of Groton Mayor James Streeter who described the Sleep Center as a major advancement in the study and treatment of sleep disorders for residents of Southeastern Connecticut and beyond.
Replacing a cramped facility in an old wing of the hospital, the new Sleep Center features eight private hotel rooms for patients, each equipped with state-of-the-art sleep monitoring equipment plus all the amenities and comforts of a top-rated hotel, explained L&M Hospital President and CEO Bruce D. Cummings. The Sleep Center’s move out of the hospital also will help “decompress the main campus while improving services and providing easier access for patients, some of whom may need to use a room that can accommodate special needs,” he said. Cummings noted that the Sleep Center staff always did a great job, but that the new location will “help the staff shine even brighter by allowing them to broaden and expand their services in a state-of-the-art facility.”
A medical director and technicians at the sleep center will monitor a patient’s sleep routines to identify and treat problems or disorders, such as sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome. All patients undergoing sleep studies will have access to the Hilton Garden’s fitness room and pool as well as a flat-screen TV and internet access in their rooms. Each patient also will receive a complimentary breakfast. Patients will need a physician referral for a full sleep study but will not need a referral if they just want to consult with the Center’s Board Certified medical director for both adult and pediatric sleep problems.
Crista Durand, L&M Vice President, Strategic Planning & Marketing, who guided the project from inception to completion, noted that an onsite medical equipment company with the latest products in sleep technology is located within the Sleep Center. “Patients who may need equipment such as a Continuous Positive Air Pressure machine or ‘CPAP’ will be able to go home with exactly what they need and the device will be fitted perfectly for each patient.”
Durand noted that L&M doctors also would use the Sleep Center to advance the study of sleep disorders in children. “We’re fortunate to have Dr. Amit Khanna as Medical Director,” said Durand. “He has double Board Certifications in sleep medicine as well as Board Certification in family medicine. In addition, L&M’s Sleep Center will be the only one in the region with the clinical expertise and technology to evaluate children as well as adults with sleep disorders.”
Said Dr. Khanna: “Children as young as two-years-old can be evaluated at the Sleep Center and I am always willing to consult with parents or adults who are having sleep issues. Recent studies have shown that many illnesses are related to sleep disorders, including anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and cardiology issues.”
“Other than your own bed, there’s really no place better to sleep than a hotel,” said Dr. Khanna. “L&M’s new Sleep Center will provide the highest quality of medicine and care. We’re offering the kind of care that is only provided by major medical centers.”
Ulysses Hammond, Chairman of the Hospital’s Board of Directors, toured the rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn and met the staff, who shared details on how patients are monitored throughout the night for heart rate, muscle movements, oxygen, neurological and respiratory functions.
“It’s fabulous,” Hammond said in his remarks. “A lot of great thought and planning has gone into this. They can meet the needs here of anyone, no matter what type of sleep disorder they may have.”
State Senator Andrea Stillman described the new Sleep Center accommodations as “Beautiful. People are going to feel relaxed the moment they walk in the door,” she said. “This is the place to go when you’re in need of this particular service,” she said.
Dr. Khanna said sleep disorders have long been under-estimated by the medical community. People who regularly lose sleep at night can suffer in many ways, including problems at work and with relationships. Many driving accidents are the result of sleep deprivation. Other health problems also can be exacerbated by a chronic lack of rest.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than giving someone back a good night’s sleep,” Khanna said. “They’re more energized and feel they’ve been given their lives back. We try to give them the quality of life they deserve.”