New ER entrance open at St. Charles
The second phase of St. Charles Madras' $16 million expansion and renovation project is now open to the public, with twice as much space for the emergency, operating and imaging areas.
The large addition on the north side of the hospital includes the emergency department entrances — a covered entrance for ambulances, and a separate entrance at the northeast corner of the hospital for walk-ins. The new emergency entrance is accessed from Northeast 12th Street. The former emergency entrance on the east side of the hospital was officially closed at 6 a.m. on June 18.
Inside are three parallel hallways that run the length of the addition, with the first housing the emergency department's 11 rooms — including three rooms set up to accommodate two beds — trauma room, large exam room and flex room, with a shower, which can be used for an overnight stay.
With the eight regular exam rooms and three special rooms, the "points of care" in the department are doubled from seven in the former emergency department up to 14, according to Tim Finkle, senior project manager for St. Charles Health System, during a media tour June 15.
"All the rooms are standardized," he said. "The computers are in the same place; they're set up for the same work flow for patient safety."
With the swipe of a badge, a caregiver can access patient information on the video display information systems and document a patient's vital signs, then go to another room, swipe the badge again and have the recorded information reappear.
The department also has a triage room, and a decontamination room next to the ambulance entrance, to be used in the event of an accident with chemical exposure.
Outside the hospital to the northeast, the helicopter landing pad has a heated ramp for moving gurneys from the helicopter to the emergency entrance, to ensure that the low-gradient walkway remains free of snow and ice during inclement weather.
Centrally located between the emergency department and the operating suite is the care team area, a U-shaped area with eight stations for staff. Rather than having built-in drawers for supplies, portable carts, which hold carefully monitored supplies, fit under the counter surrounding care team area. The carts are color coded for safety and security.
In the operating suite, there are two operating rooms, one procedure room, and four prep or recovery rooms, as well as space for four caregivers, who must use their identification badges to enter the area.
Both the emergency department and the operating suite have certain rooms with pass-through cupboards, to allow sterilized supplies to be delivered without opening the doors.
Sanitation is emphasized in the addition, which has negative pressure rooms devoted to storing soiled items until they can be sterilized in another room, and then returned to sterile storage.
The imaging department is located closest to the obstetrics department in the original part of the hospital, and features a computerized tomography room, two X-ray rooms, a mammography room, an EKG/ultrasound room, and a room for a DEXA (bone density) scanner, which will be added in 2018.
Magnetic resonance imaging will be done in a mobile unit that is shared with St. Charles Prineville. The portable MRI unit will be parked on a concrete pad on the north side of the hospital's clinic.
For caregivers, the family birthing center is conveniently located through the doors at the end of the hallway that connects the emergency, operating and imaging departments. From the connecting hallway, windows offer a view of the area between the new area and the hospital's medical surgical side, which will eventually be a "healing garden," in the next phase of construction.
The addition also has a caregiver lounge and break room, and locker rooms with showers for female and male caregivers.
Finkle anticipates that the addition will accommodate the community's growth for the next two decades. "This move essentially doubled everything we had before," he said. "It will take us to 2035."
"Every square inch of this space was run by a series of caregiver groups for their work flow analysis, to make sure we put the patient first," said Finkle. "Safety is number one."
As an example, he noted that the under the original plans, it would have taken caregivers about five minutes to get from what will be the new lab area to the points of care in the addition. After caregivers suggested a backdoor from the lab to the new area, the door became a part of the plan, cutting the transit time "to about 15 seconds," he said.
The third and final phase of the project will include an expansion of the laboratory, previously located in the trailer in front of the hospital, to space inside the hospital, and a new entrance on the east side — just north of the former emergency room entrance — which will serve as the central registration and waiting area for the hospital and family clinic.
An additional 88 parking spaces for the new galleria entrance on the east side will make it easy for the public to access the hospital and family clinic from Northeast A Street.
The architect and general contractor for the project, the Neenan Co., of Fort Collins, Colorado, broke ground on the project in August 2015.
When project is complete in the fall, the renovation will have added 21,737 square feet to the hospital, bringing the total square footage to 78,701 square feet.