When World War II came to an end, it ushered in a new era at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital that began an incredible period of growth and transition. By the 1950s, with the war behind everyone and a new sense of growth and prosperity in America, the hospital expanded its footprint, services and technology to meet the ever growing needs of the community.
In 1957, a $2.5 million expansion was undertaken, and in 1960 a larger, thoroughly modernized hospital opened. In 1967, an intensive cardiac care unit was added, and by the end of the decade an active volunteer program had completely renovated nursing stations on the third, fourth and fifth floors. The transition to ambulatory care has continued over the decades, and a 60,000-square-foot critical care complex—a $10 million addition—went up in 1987.
During the 1990s and into the new millennium, the hospital continued to expand and build off-site facilities, establishing an emergency department and services in Winsted, a cancer center, sleep laboratory, mammography center, wound care and hyperbaric medicine center, and a center for youth and families. In October 2007, the hospital dedicated its new front entrance and auxiliary garden, and refurbished its front circle in 2012 after its beloved 250-year-old white oak tree was toppled by an unusual October hurricane.
As the hospital approached its 100th year of service to the community, it was clear to all that today’s healthcare institutions face a complex environment. For 10 decades, the hospital had remained strong – rising to meet the challenges of world wars, economic downturns and natural disasters. The Board and leadership felt that moving forward meant taking all necessary steps to ensure that Charlotte Hungerford Hospital remains a strong, quality healthcare provider, well-positioned to provide and invest in future technology and services.
With this in mind, they began a process in 2014 to evaluate the possibility of strategically affiliating with a larger health system. The consensus, as it has been with many hospitals across the country, is that entering into a such a partnership has the potential to help expand specialized services, provide access to new technology, help recruit skilled providers, build purchasing power, enhance clinical expertise, boost financial resources, and recognize cost saving benefits. The evaluation process continues.
As the next century of caregiving begins, 2016 will be an important transitional year for Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. What’s next? One thing is certain. It will remain a hospital on the hill, dedicated to the communities it serves, and it will continue to care for and heal the people of Northwest Connecticut as it has done for 100 years. That is just what Uri Hungerford had in mind. Charlotte would be proud.