The new Emergency Department at WCA?Hospital is designed to make visits to the emergency room less of a pain.
On Sunday, the hospital is hosting a grand opening ceremony to unveil the new, up-to-date department. The ceremony will include a dedication ceremony, open house, tours of the Emergency Department and a teddy bear clinic.
In Sunday's Post-Journal, the Emergency Department's fast-track rooms and amenities of each room were described.
Emelia Lindquist, WCA?Hospital Emergency Department nurse manager, shows off some of the features of each room in the new Emergency Department.
P-J?photo by Liz Skoczylas
However, aside from these, the new department offers much for its staff and the volunteers who frequent the department. The end goal of the changes is to provide a more comfortable and efficient environment to patients.
"Our goal is to get you in and get you out as quickly as possible," said Emelia Lindquist, nurse manager of the Emergency Department. "We recognize people are busy, there are a lot of things going on. So, we set up rooms that are really super comfortable and quick and easy, but we can meet any needs you have in any one of these rooms."
HOSPITAL STAFF AREAS
*Nearly $14.5 million of WCA Hospital's $16.5 million goal has been raised for the new Emergency Department
*The Emergency Department offers fast-track rooms for non-critical emergencies
*The new department offers 28 areas for patients, with capacity for up to five more beds
*Each room offers: computers, heart monitor, stretcher, guest chairs, television, sink, linen hampers, gloves, waterless hand soap, cart full of supplies
*Several rooms can safely accommodate psychiatric patients
*Bariatric patients are easily accomodated
*Each room has a sliding door and curtain to ensure privacy
*The new Emergency Department offers increased security
*The ambulance bay is heated and can accommodate up to two ambulances at a time
*Decontamination showers are now available
*Private rooms are offered for sexual assault victims
*Back end registration is offered once a patient is taken care of
WCA Hospital has taken steps to ensure security in its new Emergency Department. Many of the doors will have bar code swipes, which will be programmed to only allow authorized personnel into specific areas.
"In the old ED, if you're a patient in there and you get up and wander, you can access some of those areas, because they're open and they're not locked. For the new ED, they will all be on bar code swipes," said John Carlson, director of facility services.
There are also two pneumatic tube delivery systems in the Emergency Department. According to John Sundholm, director of laboratory services, the tube system helps with efficiency, which in turn translates to improved turn-around time in the hospital's lab.
"(The tube systems) delivers specimens to the laboratory immediately, and can also deliver some supplies if there were some test the doctor ordered that we hadn't expected," Sundholm said. "It can deliver any supplies from the lab to here, or from four or five other stations within the hospital to and from here."
Phlebotomists will also be equipped with a bar code scanner, which can identify a patient and the tests they require from the patient's wristband.
"The design lends itself for more efficiency," Sundholm said.
There is work space for physicians assistants and nursing staff, as well as two medication areas, which are enclosed in glass for security.
"Research shows the more interruptions a nurse has when getting medications, the greater the likelihood of error. So, we are reducing all of that," Lindquist said.
The Emergency Department also features an area specifically for doctors. Like the medication area, it is also glassed in, which allows the doctors to be uninterrupted, as well as cuts down on noise.
"If you've been down in our ER, you can sort of hear talking throughout. This helps minimize the noise, make it a lot more comfortable. It really improves our patient privacy end of it," Lindquist said.
FOR THE EMTs
Along with a new Emergency Department comes a new ambulance bay. The department also has features meant for emergency medical technicians.
"The volunteer fire departments and ambulance EMS all had input into a lot of designs for the ambulance entrance and the decon showers and that kind of thing," Carlson said.
The ambulance bay is large enough to fit two ambulances at a time, and it is heated. Additionally, when emergency personnel bring a patient in, there will eventually be a feature where they are able to look at a screen and drop patients off in a designated room.
Another feature is a large decontamination shower. Often, if a patient is exposed to hazardous materials, they will need to be showered off in order to get rid of those materials. While many of the area's volunteer fire departments and ambulance services have a mobile shower, WCA Hospital now also provides a shower.
"All of the water that's used then contains hazardous materials, so there's a collection tank that collects it all. That is then disposed of, instead of going into the regular water supply," Carlson said.
Finally, the new Emergency Department features a private room where emergency personnel are able to complete paperwork and a room where they are able to clean off their equipment.
"You've got to give these volunteers credit. There are times where they get up at 3 in the morning to drive their neighbors in," Lindquist said. "That way, when they get back, they can go straight home. They don't have to go back into the firehall and clean stuff up. They can just pop it in and off they go back to bed."
BACK END REGISTRATION
In the old Emergency Department, patients are asked to provide insurance information before being seen. In the new department, there will be changes to the system.
"To make things much more comfortable for our patients, more efficient for them, we have got bedside registration 100 percent of the time," Lindquist said.
When patients go to the new Emergency Department, they will be made as comfortable as possible. Once they have been checked by a doctor, registration will be completed.
"No one wants to be digging in your purse, looking for insurance cards," Lindquist said. "So, we are doing that on the back end, once everyone is resting and we've had a chance to look at you and make sure that your pain needs have been met and that you're comfortable."
After being discharged, patients will be able to double-check their registration information to ensure everything is correct. This will also help ensure patients will receive follow-up information, such as test results that require extra time.
COST OF THE DEPARTMENT
To fund its new Emergency Department, WCA Hospital launched a 'Sharing the Gift of Health' campaign in 2009. According to Karl Sisson, director of development, at that time, more than $8 million had already been committed to the campaign.
"As we open next Sunday, that capital campaign with grants, gifts, pledges, to the capital campaign has risen to now almost $14.5 million," Sisson said.
The final goal for the Emergency Department is $16.5 million. Costs for the Emergency Department include the physical construction of the building; the deconstruction of the South Building; site work; relocation of services from Jones Memorial Hospital; renovations in other areas that had to coincide with the construction of the Emergency department; and deconstruction and renovation of the hospital's existing Emergency Department.
"My goal is that as people walk through the doors next Sunday for the first time, that they'll have a sense of ownership. That they'll walk in look at the artwork that is representative of our area, and they'll say, 'You know what? This is our Emergency Department, this is our community hospital and I'm proud of WCA,'" Sisson said.
According to Wright, although WCA Hospital will be holding its grand opening Sept. 23, it will not yet be operational.
"Although we do not have an exact date when we will open our new Emergency Department, we anticipate we will open and be operational before the end of the year," Wright said.
WCA Hospital's grand opening celebration will be from 12:30-4 p.m. The new Emergency Department entrance is located on Sherman and Prather Avenue.