After 30 years of service, the NMC ED’s physical space is undersized and its design is out-of-date. With the anticipated construction beginning spring of 2020, the modernization of our ED brings significant improvements in patient and staff safety relating to the care of patients with mental health concerns; treatment area capacity; additional safety concerns relating to airborne infections and physical safety; and patient privacy.
For the care of patients suffering from severe mental health issues or suicidal ideations, the new design features a flexible layout with two dedicated private Safe Holding Rooms and two flexible treatment rooms that can be converted to Safe Holding Rooms. This area can be secured as a two-room unit or as a four-room unit, with its own nurses’ station and bathroom. The ED’s new design transforms the curtained treatment bays in the center of the ED into private treatment rooms. This much-needed improvement in patient privacy also enhances communications, education, and restfulness. The design provides for two airborne infectious isolation rooms for patients with conditions such as Tuberculosis, Measles, Chicken Pox, etc. This is a step-up in quality from the portable air filtration approach we currently use. The new layout brings our registration personnel and our Security Station into the secure perimeter of the ED, enhancing safety for our staff.
As we improve safety and privacy, we are also right-sizing the ED to meet community need now and in the future. Even with reductions in non-emergent use of the ED through the expansion of access to Primary Care and Urgent Care, we treat 25,000 patients per year in the ED. We will now have 20 ED beds and improved staff visibility of patient care areas; storage capacity; energy efficiency; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) improvements; and workflow efficiency. It is a once-in-a-generation project and we are very excited at the prospect of these improvements in the patient-centered environment.
The NMC Board of Directors anticipated the need for a project of this nature and has positioned NMC’s cash reserves to allow us to do this project without the added expense of additional debt. As a result, our community will not see additional ED charges to directly cover the cost of this upgrade. With timely approval from the GMCB, we anticipate construction starting in the Spring of 2020 with completion in the Spring of 2021. Throughout the renovations, emergency medical services will continue uninterrupted, as we will retrofit the nearby former Intensive Care Unit as a fully functional temporary ED.