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Lancaster General Health is again investing in the future of healthcare in downtown Lancaster through a new, six-story expansion of Lancaster General Hospital (LGH). The potential $60 million expansion would enable the hospital to provide all private patient rooms.

Among LGH’s current 533 inpatient beds, 142 are located in semi-private rooms. LG Health plans to expand onto the northeast corner of the hospital, near Lime and Frederick streets.

Single-patient rooms have become the industry standard in new construction of acute-care facilities in the United States. Private rooms reduce the possibilities for infection, facilitate nurses and healthcare workers’ ability to do their jobs efficiently, provide adequate spaces for family members to participate in the healing process of the patients, and afford a greater measure of privacy for the delivery of bedside treatments and for sensitive discussions with healthcare personnel.

Private-room design also reduces noise levels and traffic in and out of patient rooms and contributes to a reduction in patient stress levels, which in turn results in faster healing time for patients.

The new patient tower, which would rise a total of eight stories, would contain 60 new private inpatient rooms and space for an additional 80 rooms for future use as demand requires. As these rooms become available to patients, the current 71 semi-private rooms in other hospital buildings would be converted to private rooms or other facilities.

A municipal-approval process awaits. LG Health recently filed a request with the City of Lancaster for a zoning variance related to a proposed “overbuild” construction above LGH’s Stauffer Building.

In the area where the hospital would build six stories over an existing two-story building, current zoning regulations require a “set-back” of the building on any floors higher than six stories. Like a wedding cake, the building must have a smaller footprint as it goes higher. If this set-back requirement is not waived, the project would not provide the space needed for modern nursing units on the smaller, upper floors.
The LG Health Board of Trustees will make a final decision on the project at its May meeting. Project work completed thus far is in anticipation of Trustee and municipal approvals, to enable construction to begin as early as this summer.
The number of beds at Lancaster General Hospital would remain the same as today. LGH would gain space for offices and other medical uses and there would be additional space ready for 80 new beds as needed in the future.

As medical technology advances, hospital rooms must be larger to accommodate larger equipment. Evolving regulations also require larger spaces to accommodate these demands. As more and more hospitals focus on family-centered care, patient rooms must be built to accommodate patients and their families. Larger rooms also make it easier and more convenient for visitors and can provide space for over-night guests.
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