By Eugenio Torrens
Pasco Regional Medical Center offered a preview last week of its new emergency room, expected to be fully operational next month.
Phase I of the $3.5 million construction project was unveiled in an open house to hospital associates, medical staff, volunteers, EMS and the media. The goal is to have this section of the emergency room running by the end of September. Once the new ER can host patients, the hospital will renovate its old emergency room — Phase II of the project — that should be completed in November.
“It’s going to be really good for the community,” emergency department director Wendi Romano said. “The community has been waiting a long time for a facility like this, so I think they’re really going to embrace this.”
Phase I of the project includes the addition of 8,400 square feet of added exam rooms, an imaging suite, decontamination zone, two triage stations, nurses’ station, EMS lounge, a registration/patient welcome area and a patient/guest lounge.
As part of the tour, visitors were led through the new amenities through the eyes of a patient, starting with the registration/welcome area. Immediately, patients or guests are greeted with brightly colored signs, such as “Start Here,” to guide visitors and encourage a flow throughout the ER. There is a highlighter-orange corner of the room, complete with a mural of North Dade City, with the words “Come Play” in white inviting kids to preoccupy their time. The children’s lounge also has a touch-screen table where kids may draw whatever they want with a palette of digital colors a swipe away.
Just as aesthetically pleasing, the waiting room is technologically savvy — complete with an interactive media station featuring two computers to sign in, preregister and navigate around the hospital, as well as outlets to charge electronic devices.
“You have more of a calming and soothing atmosphere,” Romano said. “When a patient has to come through the emergency room, usually they’re not here because they want to be here, so we want to make them feel as comfortable as possible when they first walk in our doors.”
The health professionals at Pasco Regional are giddy over the medical prowess of the new ER facility and not just its vibrant makeover. The number of exam rooms will more than double to 17 once both phases are done. There is a new psych room for patients who may be a threat to themselves that is constructed with shatterproof glass. There is also a negative-pressure room with ventilation straight to the outside world to prevent contamination within the hospital.
Romano pointed out the state-of-the-art monitoring systems to check on patients, as well as the CT scanners as being extremely beneficial to the staff.
Dr. David Wilcher, who directs the Pasco Regional emergency room, pointed out the new facility’s efficiency because of its ability to attack many different causes. As a designated Primary Stroke Center, Pasco Regional deals with patients who may not be able to spare the five minutes it may take to be wheeled from one side of the hospital to another. A majority of medical facilities’ stroke victims have to be relocated to a different department.
“Now, no one has to leave the department and care of doctors,” Wilcher said.
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