By Kevin Kelley
Fairview Hospital’s new emergency department is a lot like Texas. Everything is bigger there, at least in comparison to the current ER.
Doctors and nurses will begin treating patients in the new facility June 13. The public is invited to tour the $83 million hospital expansion, which includes a new intensive care unit, at a community open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The new structure, built along Lorain Road, is the West Park hospital’s largest construction project ever, said Jan Murphy, the institution’s president.
Murphy has readily acknowledged that the existing emergency department is not up to handling the health care demands of the community. The current ER was designed to care for around 36,000 patients annually; in recent years around 70,000 have passed through its doors, she said.
At times, patients experienced long waits of several hours. Some had to be seen in beds placed in the hallways of the department.
But that is all about to change. The new emergency department will have a total of 55 beds, all in rooms that can be enclosed with sliding glass doors, allowing for more privacy and a quieter atmosphere for the patient.
Each ER room has its own computer, on which staff can access medical records or show a patient an X-ray. The department will have its own X-ray and CT scanners to provide ER patients with quicker results.
Within the first-floor emergency department is a dedicated pediatric section, with a separate staff of doctors and nurses trained to treat children. Two pediatric nursing stations will monitor the 16 beds dedicated to the youngest patients.
Not only is the emergency department larger, the patient rooms more spacious, but even the elevators are larger, and therefore called megavators, to more easily move patients and equipment.
Fairview Hospital offers the only Level II trauma center on the city’s West Side. Two trauma rooms have been located just inside the ambulance bay, allowing for the quickest possible treatment of critically injured patients.
“They are very well-prepared to take care of anything that comes our way,” Murphy said of the ER’s staff.
Communications among staff members will also be easier, thanks to the their use of Vocera badges, “Star Trek” communicator-like devices that allow for wireless voice conversations to take place between care providers in different parts of the building.
All employees who work in the ER, from doctors and nurses to the housekeeping staff, had input on the design of the new facility, said Murphy and John A. Taturi, M.D., the hospital’s chief of staff.
Quick treatment rooms, intended for persons with less critical illnesses or injuries, have been located next to the triage room, which is near the separate entrance for walk-in patients.
“It’s all about being as efficient as possible,” Taturi said of the emergency department’s design.
Taturi said the new ER’s features will enable the staff to provide care that is “much more positive and much more private.” The result will be better care for the patient, who will have a better experience, he added.
The 38 beds in the new second-floor intensive care unit are private rooms designed similarly to those in the ER but include a toilet. This allows for better infection control, Taturi said. The ICU rooms also feature special lighting designed to reinforce a patient’s circadian rhythm. The lighting can help reduce instances of ICU psychosis, a condition in which a patient experiences disorientation or delirium, said Taturi and James Mark, M.D., the emergency department’s medical director.
The expansion of the emergency department and intensive care unit will bring additional employees to Fairview Hospital. Taturi said an additional physician will begin working there in July, with two more coming next summer. Deborah Small, the hospital’s chief nursing officer, said additional nurses and other health care workers are being hired and will be phased in over time.