After three and one-half years in the making, the expanded and renovated emergency department at SSM Health St. Francis Hospital will be open for patients beginning at 7 a.m. on September 27. Community members were given the opportunity to tour the remodeled department on September 9.
The newly renovated space now includes four exam rooms, two trauma rooms and a triage room. "We went from one private room and four semi-private with curtains between the beds to seven private rooms, one being a triage room," said Pat Giffin, ED nurse manager. "The waiting room is smaller because with all private rooms, the family can be back with the patient more. We are hoping to get patients out of the waiting room and into exam rooms with the increased number of rooms, improving throughput for the department."
The increased number of rooms will not only improve the number of patients that can be seen at one time but the triage room will enhance the ability to evaluate a patient in a private setting. Patients have been known to be triaged in the hallways of the old emergency department due to the lack of rooms.
"With the private rooms, we now have all glass fronts which allows us to see patients that we need to keep an eye on," Giffin continued. "They can all be seen from the nurses' station except for the triage room, where critical patients should not be kept."
Trauma rooms are set up so that life-saving equipment is within reach of ED physicians. They are positioned close to the nurses' station, just inside the ambulance entrance and near to the medication supply and EKG machine. The trauma rooms are slightly bigger and interestingly-shaped (due to space limitations) while still allowing for have the additional supplies, cardiac and trauma equipment to be readily available.
"We also have a special room for patients with eye injuries," said Giffin. "One of the rooms has been designated for gynecological exams."
The ED physician is available 24 hours a day and continues to have accommodations in the unit. The nurses' station has been expanded to allow for more workspace for the staff. The medication supply has been separated from the nurses' station so nurses are not interrupted while pulling medications yet readily available to the physician in case there is a question.
"We have more storage space," Giffin said. "This should help to make less clutter in the rooms and better organization in the storage."
"We still have the great location with lab and radiology just out our back door," Giffin noted. "Right off the front entrance of the hospital; right off the permanent ambulance bay again. Patients won't have as far to walk to get to us."
The unit has been updated with new paint color and flooring. "It's light and clean and will be wonderful to walk into," said Giffin.
"In a couple of the rooms, we have new overhead LED lights," Giffin stated. "We have a more advanced call-light system that will not only allow functionality for the patient and nurse but also notification to registration. We didn't have that before."
Other new equipment includes a treatment recliner and gynnie bed that are being funded by the St. Francis Hospital Foundation.
The first patient will be seen in the new space beginning the morning of September 27th. The staff will be spending time until then supplying and equipping the new ED for patients.
"24/7! When a patient comes in the main entrance, there will someone just inside our front door that can help them," Giffin concluded. "You will receive the excellent care already available by the ED physicians and staff."