Changing ER Strategy Increases Space for Critical Patients

Emergency room design is constantly evolving to improve treatment efficiency and patient comfort.

The design and layout of hospitals is constantly evolving to better suit patient and health care provider needs. According to The Modesto Bee, the Medical Center of Modesto has expanded its ER to better treat patients with non-critical injuries and allowing more room for serious emergencies.

The expansion opened on Nov. 9, 2014. It is 5,300 square feet and nearly doubles the lobby seating in an effort to decrease patient waiting time. Patients will now report to a private triage area, complete with a chair that weighs the patient, taking out the tedious step of using a manual scale. The physician in the triage unit will then order any necessary testing for the patient.

If the patient has less serious issues, they will then move to an area for rapid medical evaluation where stitches or routine procedures will occur. This way the results of any tests will be ready by the time the doctor reaches the patient. The doctor will check on the patient and prescribe any necessary medication and the patient is then sent home. 

Another new feature is the addition of a projector screen to entertain children in the ER lobby. Toys are discouraged in the waiting area as they easily carry germs. Instead, the new projector encourages children to use their hands to play with the 45 interactive screen displays.

The hospital hopes the expansion will reduce patient wait times by 25 percent. Before the addition, the average time from arriving at the emergency room to being treated and discharged was just over 3.5 hours. 

According to The Tampa Tribune, the Florida Hospital Tampa recently underwent a similar expansion, complete with triage rooms and injury-specific treatment rooms. They also added a special seven-room pediatric unit to the ER, which better serves families with softer light and animated scenes projected on the walls to help to ease anxious children. Dr. Wenzel Tirheimer, the ER medical director of the hospital, told the source that the new center was designed to maximize efficiency and increase patient comfort. 

These major design and layout changes to health care facilities will affect people with careers in nursing by streamlining their experience as well, making it easier and more efficient to treat emergency room patients.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN, BSN to MSN, and RN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_nursing

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