Just in time for flu season, the Alta View Hospital emergency department has received an upgrade.
The department has expanded, nearly doubling its space and adding eight new private rooms, an extra triage room and an entire hallway devoted, at least for now, to flu patients.
It's a nice change from crowded hallways full of patient beds and curtained rooms that provided little privacy, said Dianne Sano, the department's patient flow coordinator.
The added privacy is important to patients, said hospital administrator Becky Kapp, who has lobbied for more space since becoming the department's nursing manager several years ago. The rooms now meet HIPAA standards.
Patients have noticed the difference.
Vern Stiel recently came to the hospital to have his heart checked after his pulse had fallen to dangerously low levels.
The former hospital volunteer remembers having curtains serving as doors and beds stationed inside closets. He relished the new private room where he could rest with his daughter at his side.
The changes have also benefitted staff members.
"It just seems like it's a little bit more organized," said Tiffany Miller, a critical care technician and health unit coordinator. "It's the same team, just more efficient."
The extra space allows for supply carts in rooms and an expanded ambulance bay gives staff more elbow room. But one area has lost some space. The waiting room has been reduced by about half because the department hopes to decrease patient wait times, Sano said.
The project, which began in February, was completed last month and cost about $2.3 million. Other amenities include an enlarged pediatric room and a seclusion room with secure power outlets and drawers for psychiatric patients who need time to calm down.
"We're able to provide care in the most appropriate setting for their set of issues," Kapp said. "Our goal is to care for anyone who comes through our doors."