Later this year, a new page in the history books for Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York will be written with the completion of a major expansion and renovation project of Lake Shore Health Care Center's Emergency Department in Irving. Hospital officials have announced plans for the project which is in part supported by a $1.9 million New York State HEAL grant. Additional needed funds are expected to be raised through public and private efforts. The project, when completed, will more than double the size of the existing Emergency Department and implement a "Fast Track" area in the department by next summer.
"We are pleased to advance this initiative to continue to raise the quality standard for patients and their families across the region," said Jonathan I. Lawrence, LERHSNY president and CEO. "This renovation and expansion will result in a more comfortable, private, accessible and appealing setting for our patients and their families, and ensures an efficient environment with the latest technology for our medical team."
Linda Summers, chief operating officer at TLC Health Network, said the project will increase the Emergency Department from just over 3,000 square feet to 7,000 square feet and will provide seven private rooms. "This project is likely the most important at Lake Shore in many years," Summer explained. "The Emergency Department is the 'front door' to the hospital for most of our inpatients and many members of our community who never anticipated needing medical care. It's important for people to know that when they need a modern, safe, efficient hospital, there's one right in their backyard."
Pictured at the Seneca Road Emergency Department entrance of Lake Shore Health Care Center’s construction site are, from left, Rich Smith, hospital plant operations director; Chuck Villafranca, hospital plant supervisor; Brian Sitzman, architect, Cannon Design, Buffalo; Jonathan I. Lawrence, LERHSNY president and CEO; David Janicke, medical director, hospital emergency department; Linda Summers, chief operating officer, TLC Health Network; Mark Pundt, president/CEO, Professional Emergency Services, Buffalo; Katherine Callesto, architect, Cannon Design, Buffalo; Scott Sidell, superintendent, LP Ciminelli, Buffalo; and Scott Hultquist, hospital Emergency Department nurse manager. The group is reviewing architectural renderings at the construction site of the new entrance to Lake Shore’s Emergency Department with a project which will more than double the size of the space when completed later in 2013.
The expansion project is being undertaken for several reasons. Enhancing patient privacy, improving infection control, providing a higher quality of service including better patient flow to decrease wait times and providing sufficient waiting room space are all expected outcomes in the expansion project. The hospital handles about 12,600 Emergency Room visits annually, according to officials. "With the seasonal influx of part-time residents, we can see a significant increase," Summers said. "This project will allow us to take better care of those spikes, especially on summer weekends."
Key features in one of the new private rooms include special lighting, equipment, and supplies to provide the capability for specialty trauma care. "It provides the opportunity for procedures to be done quickly for patients involved in situations such as motor vehicle accidents, those with head injuries or cardiac patients," Summers explained. Another new room is outfitted with specially designed furnishings and equipment to meet the medical needs of larger-sized patients. Due to the area's overall design, all rooms will be able to be viewed from a central nurses' station for increased visibility, quicker response by staff, and privacy for patients. Improvements in technology and equipment include new telemetry for monitoring cardiac patients and new treatment tables.
The Emergency Department expansion at Lake Shore Health Care Center will mark another important change for customers - the relocation of Outpatient Registration. Currently, those registering for outpatient areas report just inside the main entrance of the hospital, even though most Outpatient Services are located nearest to the Emergency Department. With the renovation project, the Outpatient Registration will move nearer to those services, Summers said.
Officials say Emergency Department patrons should not experience any interruption of service during the project, as the actual expansion section is being constructed separately and will not impact the existing day-to-day ongoing operations. "We'll build the additional 4,000 square feet first and then move into that space before renovating our existing 3,000 square feet," Summers explained. No change in parking or the existing entrance is expected for the public, although the ambulance entrance will be affected at some point during construction. "We will be working very closely with transport personnel to ensure smooth patient flow in and out of the department," she said.
Officials at LERHSNY received approval of a Certificate of Need application from the New York State Department of Health authorizing them to move forward with the bid process for the project which resulted in the selection of Cannon Design for the renovation planning as well as LP Ciminelli for construction management and Concept as the project contractor. Summers said the Emergency Department staff and other hospital personnel have been and will continue to be an integral part of the planning process for the project as well.