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DRHC preparing for move to new ER

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It may be a temporary location, but people seeking treatment in the Dauphin Regional Health Centre (DRHC) will be doing so in state-of-the-art surroundings.
The temporary emergency room and intensive care unit was developed on the first floor of DRHC in an area previously occupied by administrative offices. It was necessary to allow for a continuation of services while the existing emergency department undergoes a $17 million expansion.
Staff orientation is underway this week and the move to the new emergency department will take place in stages beginning first thing in the morning, Nov. 14, with a briefing session for staff involved in the process and set up of a central command area.
“Our goal right now is to begin with the special care unit. Move over a certain amount of the area and then bring in patients and nurses. Then finish off the area with the small stuff,” said DRHC director Curt Gullett, adding that will be the time to stop and regroup and ensure everything is still on track to move ahead.
“Make sure that there is no major incidents that are happening. The caveat behind this is if a major incident occurs, the move stops and we deal with the major incident. And once that is cleared we will proceed with the move again.”
Following the move of the special care unit the emergency department will be moved one section at a time making sure there is always capacity for care in one the areas.
“We are not diverting or leaving any major incidents,” Gullett said adding some minor cases may be delayed or diverted to other facilities.
“Throughout the whole move there shouldn’t be anything that comes to our door that we can’t handle.”
Gullett expects the move will take eight hours to complete and is pleased with the staging and appropriation of staff that has taken place to ensure everythings goes as smoothly as possible.
With the move to the new ER complete, after entering the DRHC through the temporary entrance at the rear of the building, patients will register at the new information desk and proceed to a waiting area shared with the Lab and X-ray department.
The waiting area is equipped with an emergency department information centre which will help keep people waiting for treatment informed.
“It will help you determine what your wait time is, how many people are waiting ahead of you. All that type of stuff,” Gullett said.
The actual treatment and examination area will remain locked and is accessed with a security swipe card.
Once inside people will see a modern, open concept space that boasts a central open nursing station in the middle flanked by two trauma areas and a treatment area on the left, intensive care beds, a locked medicine room and an overnight patient area on the right and three exam and treatment areas directly ahead.
“(Nurses) can work from both sides of the station, so they are not always behind the desk,” Gullett said.
“From a patient perspective there is engagement and for nurses it is user friendly.”
No capacity has been sacrificed with the relocation as all of the stretchers that were available in the old ER will be available in the new space, he said.
It is different in that the treatment and exam areas in the new facility are separated by curtains for privacy rather than the separate rooms that were found in the old ER.
But that is not the only difference between the two ERs.
“All of the charting in this (new) area is going to be computerized . . . versus the old way,” Gullett said, adding the temporary facility boasts several state-of-the-art systems ranging from the lighting to the heat and waste disposal.
“We are going to a system called a macerator. So it will be disposable bedpans that we take to a, like a grinder, that chops it up and out with water,” Gullett said.
“That is versus us dumping and washing the bedpan, it going back to be processed to come back down to be used again. From a nursing clinical perspective it is safer.”
The temporary ER will remain in use until mid-2019 to allow for the redevelopment of, and addition to the existing emergency department.
When finished the renovated ER will include an enclosed ambulance garage and a new resuscitation/trauma care room along with new treatment, exam and observation rooms, a decontamination room, an ICU for extended emergency care, added support space and a new main entry to the facility complete with a new ramp.
When that is complete the temporary ER facility will be open for other uses.
“The direction we have gotten from PMH is this will not return to office space of any sort,” Gullett said, adding while they know the space will transition to some sort of clinical purpose, it has not been determined exactly what that will be.