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Sparkling New Emergency Department Opens

Posted on Friday, March 6th, 2015

Tad Hall, PA,emergency department manager; Judy Sanchez-
Fernandez, patient  registrar; Megan Yow, RN, emergency
room nurse; and Richard Barker, FACHE, hospital administrator,
are pictured at the patient registration station of the hospital's
sparkling new emergency room addition. At 3,350 s
quare feet
of space, the new wing is three times the size of the existing

emergency room, which dates to 1972.

Judy Sanchez-Fernandez, patient registrar, and Megan
Yow, RN, move a patient from the spacious new
emergency department waiting room into the treatment

Tad Hall, physician assistant, is pictured in the
new emergency room addition a few weeks before
opening day on February 5, 2015. Hall manages the
emergency department and is the senior member
of the department, having joined in 1982.

A sparkling new addition to Merrcy Health/Love County Hospital's emergency department is open.

The expansion project, which took nine months to complete, has produced a bright and roomy addition that is almost three times larger than the existing ER.

Patient care began February 5.

The new construction extends the building's west end, and its exterior gold brick finish matches the rest of the hospital.

Inside is more of eveything: spaciousness, privacy, comfort, and security.

"The architectural revision is meant to be modern but serviceable to clients. It was designed with quality and meeting the needs of our emergency patients with timely care and new technology," said Richard Barker, FACHE, hospital administrator.

Key features are treatment and service areas for patients with minor ailments or less severe injuries than those brought to the ER by ambulance.

Formerly, these "walk-in" patients waited and were treated in the ER's trauma rooms.

Now they have their own pedestrian entrance on the south side of the new wing, complete with a 20-seat waiting room, including kids' corner, floor to ceiling windows on two sides, security desk, reception counter, and visitor restroom.

The patient next moves through secure doors to a private triage and registration station. Nurses will take vital signs to assess the patient's condition and plan his or her lab work.

Nearby are two single-patient treatment rooms and a patient restroom. The treatment rooms have negative air pressure to keep any airborne infection from spreading.

Open space in the interior can be curtained off to form more treatment bays when necessary.

The expansion is adding 3,350 square feet of new space to the emergency department, which serves an average of 4,000 patients per year. "I anticipate growth because of the added accessibility, improved capacity, and quality of patient encournters," PA Tad Hall said.

"We now have enough treatment options to keep an exam room open when we are awaiting the arrival of an ambulance," said Megan Yow, RN, emergency room nurse. "In the past, we sometimes had to rush an encounter or vacate a space to make room."

The north side of the new building has staff offices, workstations, break room, and storage. A canopied ambulance entrance is on the west end. A connecting corridor leads to treatment rooms in both ER wings.

There will be new handicapped parking spots close to the ER.

The emergency department is open 24 hours a day.

Barker said renovations are ongoing to the existing ER, which dates to 1972 and covers 1,200 square feet.

The two trauma rooms (operating rooms originally) will become further specialized. "One will become primarily an orthopedic treatment room, the other a trauma/cardiac treatment room," Barker said.

Both rooms will be equipped with "telestroke" technology, enabling suspected stroke patients to undergo tests directed by an offsite consulting neurologist looking on through a web-camera connection.

The old waiting room (the original emergency room) is being converted back to an emergency room, bringing to five the total number of private treatment rooms now available in the emergency department.

The ER nurses' station is being rebuilt and set back several feet, and a laboratory workstation is being added close to the waiting room. "This new lab will make patient testing much more convenient for outpatients just needing lab work," Hall said.