By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samantha A. Lewis, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) completed the fourth and final phase of the Emergency Department (ED) renovation project with a grand opening ceremony scheduled for Aug. 23.
The $10.1 million four-phase project increased the number of beds, decreased wait times and includes new services like restaurant-style pagers for patients, allowing them the freedom to leave the waiting room. The ED was also revamped to be more efficient and have a more pleasant atmosphere.
“The main resource that our ED needed was more beds and that’s really what this project accomplished,” said Cmdr. John Love, chairman of the Emergency Department. “We now have a 41-bed ED between the fast track area and the main ED. Before, we only had 26.” Additionally, the 23,800 square-foot ED houses five triage bays, five high acuity beds, a resource room and locker room for providers, a state-of-the-art conference room, and $650,000 of new equipment.
The newly-renovated ED is now optimized for efficiency and improved patient care.
“We want it to be a pleasant experience for the patients obviously, so when waiting does occur we have the restaurant-style pager system that [we give to patients] we are comfortable with leaving the waiting room. That way, we can call them back when it’s their time,” said Love. “Wait times, that’s really what we’re focusing on; our goal is to provide the most efficient and safe care possible, and whenever possible we want to make it so that at check-in, you go straight to a bed.”
Also, while a patient is waiting they have more options for entertainment; the renovated ED boasts brand-new flat-screen televisions and free wireless internet.
The ED’s makeover has also brought improvements for hospital staff, providing a break room, a locker for every staff member, and a team station with enough computers for all staff, ensuring more efficient patient data processing and higher morale.
The previous ED opened in January 1988 at that time the department was designed to see 30,000 patients a year. Currently NMCSD treats more than double that number—anywhere from 66,000 to 70,000 patients per year. Love said he hopes the ED can one day treat 75,000 patients per year.
Phase one of the renovation project began November 2010, with the arrival of five trailers used as temporary patient care facilities for fast-track and rapid treatment and assessment while renovations were underway.
During phase two, fast-track patients were treated in the temporary trailers while the ED was freed up for remodeling. Patients with the most threatening conditions, or the most ill, were treated in portions of the ED that weren’t under construction. Meanwhile, those diagnosed with minor illnesses were treated in the fast-track trailers.
Phases three and four consisted of opening up the 14-bed fast-track portion for the least ill, and the 27-bed main portion for the most ill when renovations were completed June 11.
For more information on the Emergency Department renovation, visit http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=64590 and http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/Pages/News/news-20111229.aspx.