Changes Inside and Out at Local Emergency Room

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A newly remodeled emergency room is making all the difference for patients and doctors at one local health care facility.

The St. Joseph Regional Health Center's ER has received a makeover of monumental proportions.

"We've made tremendous progress both in processes and also in our physical plant," Emergency Medicine Dr. Bill Bass said. "The new emergency department has 28 patient treatment areas with two triage areas and space for a staff laboratory."

Doctors say the facelift has made a world of difference in providing services to patients because work space in the rooms before the remodel made for a difficult work environment.

"They were awkward and small and not in compliance with some of the standards that are in effect today, and we were really short on space for the team to work," Bass said. "The nursing station was small and hadn't been expanded in a number of years, and our goal is now to have a computer and a place to sit for every team member."

Officials say they hope to achieve that goal within the next six to eight months as everything moves to a computer-based format.

Some of the more noticeable changes include new signage outside and increased security requirements to get in. In addition to all the physical changes, the ER has had some critical improvements on the inside as well.

"We now have a cardiac care team in place that allows us to get a patient with a heart attack into the cath lab and their artery opened in 90 minutes," Bass said. "We are really proud of this and it's been a tremendous teamwork process from the very beginning."