01-17-1939 HOME DEPARTMENT DISCRPBED IN LITTLE JOURNEY THRU WOODVILLE Signal-Item Columnist Continues Interesting Trip, Relates Story of Surprises and Wonders at City in a Township, Dr. Hammill Escorts Scribe on Second Lap of Hospital Inspection Trip By Jimmie McDonald "The 'Home Department' is original and primary division of the present Allegheny County Institution District", said Dr G. P. Hammill as we began our inspection of the "Home and Hospital", which are under Dr. Hammill's supervision. "The 'Home' was founded on September 18, 1854 for the purpose of caring for the indigent in Allegheny County. The population in the early years averaged between 150 and 200 patients, and it is interest- ing to note that 30 to 40 children were included. Dr. Hammill gave me this bit of history during our walk down a well lighted corridor on our way to the dispensary. The dispensary incidentally is comparable to any metropolitan prescription pharmacy. Leaving the dispensary, Dr. Hammill showed me "The Senate." This is the name given to the recreation rooms of the male patients of the home. It is in these rooms that all major and minor world problems are discussed and settled. Included in the "Senate" are reading rooms and a room with a radio and score board. This is a popular gathering place during broadcasts of athletic contests. We just missed hearing the outcome of the war in Spain as we left to "look in" at the Male division of the Home Hospital. Dr. Hammill explained that the home was divided into five parts. The Male hospital and the Female hospital, under, the supervision of Mrs. Jane Cleaver. The Male Home department with J. L. Clifford as supervisor, the Female Home department, under the supervision of Mrs. Ida McIlvaine, and the newest division, the Unit, supervised by Lucille Werner. A atmosphere of cheerfulness pervaded the Male hospital, Dr. Hammill had a pleasant word for al of the men and the pleased way in which they returned his salutation showed the deep respect they have for "The young Dr. Hammill." We visited the ward on the female side of the building and the same spirit of the friendliness was in evidence here, also. Of special interest was the large kitchen which prepares the food for nearly one thousand patients. The cleanliness and skill with which the meals were prepared is remarkable. Another item of interest was the huge kettles in which the food is prepared. They were the largest I have ever seen, and their contents poured forth as delicious an aroma as any kettle in our expensive restaurants. After we had finished our tour through the County Home proper, we inspected the outlying departments that are part of the Home department. We visited the laboratory, the surgical ward, and the X-ray departments in another building before we took a car and rode up to the new addition of the Home, The Unit. The Unit was primarily for the purpose of housing contagious disease patients. The rooms as all glass enclosed to enable the doctors to observe the patients without entering the rooms. The lights are controlled by switches on the outside, Every possible prevention has been taken to insure adequate protection against the spread of contagious diseases. The number of cases of contagious diseases is not large enough at the present time to fill the eighty-four beds the Unit provides, and they are being used for other types of patients. But in an emergency, the entire building could be cleared in less than half a day and made ready to receive patients should a epidemic appear in this section. A fever therapy machine is being tried at the Unit and is one of the latest methods being used in modern medicine. Driving back from the Unit, Dr. Hammill told of the progress patients were making in their fight to get well. "One of our most effective forms of treatment is our beauty shop", said Dr. Hammill. Miss Hilda Monck, a registered beautician does the hair of most patients each week, and is it surprising how eager the ladies are to get out of bed and go to the shop th have their hair done." When we were once again in his office I asked about the history of the Home and Dr. Hammill gave me some pertinent facts concerning the development of the Home at Woodville."Records of the early years are scant and were written as a diary", said Dr. Hammill. "From them it is not uncommon to read where a mother and four or five children were admitted because the father had deserted them, ot their home had been destroyed by fire. "Not many years ago one ward was devoted entirely to children and we marvel at the attendants of those days whose duties each morning consisted of preparing these children for attendance in a nearby school". "Later other facilities were provided for children, and the "County Home" was made accessible to indigent and sick, sixteen years or older". "Recent acts of Legislation provided for the care of the indigent. With "relief" and "old age pension" there is less need for the care of the homeless, and now the "Home Department" accepts only indigent patients in need of hospital- ization or medical care. The Old 'poor house' has ceased to exist and now people of Allegheny County have one of the greatest and most efficient institutions for the care of their indigent sick". "This past year close to 800 patients were admitted to the "Home Hospital". The majority of these patients were chronically ill and some doomed before admission because of an incurable disease. Many of their families apologized for having to place the patients here. It is obvious that they still regard the institution as a "poor house'. Invariably they explain that the burden of caring for this sick member of their family has become to great. They do not realize that the "County Hospital" can not only relieve their burden, but can offer even better nursing care and greater comfort to this patient. "All patients in the "Home Department" are actually hospital patients. Of these, approximately 350 require constant nursing care while approximately 600 or more are convalescing under supervised exercise and receiving medical treatment. Medical care under the direction of three resident physicians selected from city hospitals. There is no limitation to medicines and all drugs are available if indicated. "Modern laboratory facilities and x-ray aid in arriving at correct diagnosis. Recent experimentation with fever therapy in conjunction with the industrial Hygiene Department of the University of Pittsburgh shows the desire of the staff to continually improve treatment. "Besides medical care, provision is made for entertainment of patients. Movies are shown every other week. Concerts, plays minstrels and various perfor- mances are offered through the kindness of churches and various clubs and organi- zations. A central library provides books to those who desire to read. From the profits of the "Co-operative Store" periodic treats are given to patients". With this interesting account of the development of "The County Home" our afternoon in the "Home Department", ended. Next Week an account of the trip through the Male Mental Department will appear in the paper.