Hospital Emergency Expansion Approved
New Britain [May 31 2006] -
Emergency Department Patient Visits Increasing
Construction will Begin July 1
An expansion and renovation of New Britain General Hospital’s Emergency Department will begin July 1.
The State of Connecticut Office of Health Care Access recently approved the hospital’s Certificate of Need requesting permission to add 10,000 square feet and a 33 percent increase in beds to the department.
Construction will begin July 1 and will proceed in three phases over a two-year period. This schedule will minimize impact on patients and staff and allow for continuous and smoothly-functioning emergency service.
The project is expected to cost $6.5 million. The hospital’s most recent capital campaign raised funds for this and three other projects on the New Britain General campus, and an additional effort to raise $1 million more for this ED expansion is ongoing.
Visits to the Emergency Department at New Britain General Hospital have increased nearly 30 percent since a major renovation in 1997, with over 63,000 patients seen in 2005.
At near capacity and with the growth expected to continue, the hospital needs to expand its emergency services.
“Our community relies on New Britain General for the best possible health care — and relies on us when an emergency strikes,” said Hospital President Laurence A. Tanner. “The dramatic increase in patient use of our Emergency Department has compelled the Hospital to expand our facilities.”
The Emergency Department in the Tomasso Tower was built just over 12 years ago. The ED was designed based on local, state, and national trends in hospital use. A plan for growth was anticipated, but visits have increased at an ever greater rate. A number of major changes in the way emergency rooms are used by the public have dramatically changed the equation.
The renovation will build upon new technologies and improve patient care areas with greater privacy for patients and visitors. The expansion will increase capacity, provide for better triage of patients, and give better access to imaging and laboratory services— all combining to offer better emergency care. The additional space, staffing, and testing capabilities within the ED will result in shorter wait times to be seen, evaluated, and treated. With more exam rooms, a secure crisis stabilization unit, improved work flow, and better privacy, patients will be better served.
The most visible changes will be the addition of 11 beds (to bring the total to 45), private rooms instead of patient beds separated by curtains, and rooms that will be multi-functional instead of single purpose (e.g. trauma, Ob/Gyn).
Less visible, but no less vital will be various changes designed to streamline workflow patterns for staff; improve staff access to critical supplies; improve staff access to work stations closer to patient exam rooms; and make better use of advanced technologies already available. The ED installed a state-of-the-art computerized patient data system in December of 2005 called EmpowER to improve patient safety and staff access to medical information; the improvements will allow better use of this technology.
Parking for patients and visitors will also be improved as part of this renovation.
New Britain’s experience of increased emergency room use mirrors the national trend. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of visits to emergency rooms increased 26 percent across the U.S. from 1993 to 2003.
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