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ER project on track for ’09 completion

Newhall Memorial started department expansion in 2006

Posted: July 16, 2009 8:54 p.m.
Updated: July 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The completed "fast track" examination rooms of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital emergency room waits for the final inspection to open.

 
The end is in sight for the $21 million expansion of the local hospital’s emergency department.

Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital is wrapping up the third phase of construction, which includes the emergency department restrooms and a “fast track” system for helping patients with less critical injuries.

Barring any delays, hospital officials hope to see completion of all five phases by the end of the year.

For nearly three years, the hospital has been expanding and updating its emergency room, which of late has seen increased numbers of patients.

The ER has seen an influx lately of about 150 to 160 patients a day, compared to a normal number of about 120 per day, charge nurse Deanna Phillips said.

She said summer is when ER nurses tend to see a spike in injury-related cases.

With 11 beds in the new fast-track section — versus eight at present — set to open on Wednesday, nurses can attend more quickly to “the easier patients” — those with injuries like lacerations and broken bones, who do not require cardiac monitoring.

The final step before the new fast-track section can be opened is inspection by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, according to John Schleif, Newhall Memorial’s chief operating officer.

“A key consideration in the design of Henry Mayo’s emergency department expansion project has been to create facilities and services that address the needs of our growing patient population and offer the newest technology and medical equipment,” Schleif wrote in an e-mail.

The final two phases of the expansion include office space, a sleep room for physicians and a staff lounge.

A dedicated imaging room will be constructed so routine X-rays can be done in the emergency department rather than sending patients to the main hospital imaging department.

The emergency department’s expansion began in December 2006 and has resulted in an increase from 7,730 square feet to 16,636 square feet.

Once complete, the new emergency department will include 36 beds, 25 of which will be cardiac-monitored beds and 11 of which will be the low-acuity, fast-track beds.

Funding for the expansion came through the a capital campaign and bond proceeds from the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Health Foundation.


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