Geisinger Life Flight reaches 40 years of life-saving service

This year, Geisinger is honoring 40 years of providing life-saving critical care. What started as a single-aircraft operation at Geisinger Medical Center in 1981 has grown to a nine-aircraft operation, with six bases, two critical care grounds trucks, a crew of 150, and more than 75,000 transports completed across northeastern and central Pennsylvania. Since 2001, Life Flight 3, based at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, has been a crucial part of the Life Flight program.  

This month, we invite you to consider covering this milestone in local medical history. Current and former Geisinger Life Flight leaders, current crews, and patients are willing to share their stories of how the Life Flight program has impacted medical care locally and helped to save lives. Geisinger also continues investing in the program, with the addition of its latest helicopter, which recently went into service this summer.

Progressive Care Unit Opens at Geisinger Community Medical Center

A new Progressive Care Unit (PCU) featuring private rooms and a modern, evidence-based design is now open at Geisinger Community Medical Center and specializes in caring for the complex needs of trauma, medical and surgical patients.

Located on the hospital’s fourth floor, directly above the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the PCU houses 18 private rooms and nursing alcoves that allow direct visual oversight of patient rooms through large glass windows. The care model decentralizes nursing stations to improve surveillance of each patient and enhances the care team’s communication with patient families, giving family members closer access to nursing staff.

“The nursing model used in the new PCU allows for improved monitoring of critically ill patients from the nurses’ station that extends around the entire unit,” said Glenna Barletta, nursing operations manager at Geisinger Community Medical Center. “Nursing alcoves are located outside each room to ensure the care team is always close by.”

Development of the PCU is part of a $16 million project that also begins the hospital’s approach to a private-bed model.

Designed to improve patient experience, quality of care and efficiency of operation, the unit’s spacious, state-of-the-art, private rooms meet the need to care for critically ill patients.

“We know the benefits of the private-room model on clinical quality and patient experience are well-studied and indisputable,” said Ujwal Tuladhar, M.D., hospitalist at Geisinger Community Medical Center. “They include reduced risk of hospital-acquired infection, reduced patient stress levels due to improved privacy and reduction of unwanted noise, and better facilitation of care. Private rooms cater to patient comfort, better rest and more room for caregivers and loved ones.”

The PCU’s private rooms are larger than the semi-private rooms of the previous step-down unit with enough space to accommodate critical care technology, allowing the care team to treat higher-acuity patients, such as ventilator patients who require medications that elevate blood pressure.

“The room size allows for more sophisticated equipment to fit into the space and provides our care team with greater ability to move around the patient to deliver care,” Barletta said. “This allows us to broaden the criteria of patients the unit can accept.”

The PCU has two waiting rooms — a quiet room and another with a television — and features multiple family meeting rooms, a wellness room with massage chairs, and two bariatric patient rooms with showers.

To get to the PCU from the main lobby at Geisinger Community Medical Center, take the C elevators to level 4, then take a right off the elevator and follow signs to the PCU.