New emergency room built to deal with industrial accidents, contamination
The new emergency room at St. Charles Parish Hospital will take into account hazards particular to the area, such as industrial accidents or a chemical release.
A decontamination room with its own entrance and ventilation system has been built into the emergency room that is designed to limit the spread of contaminants in the event of an industrial accident. In addition, the hallway in the ambulance entrance has been expanded should a catastrophic event occur and extra space be needed for gurneys.
"We know there is a concern that there could be a chemical release," Director of Marketing Quinn Landry said. "We could get a large influx of patients and we need to be prepared for that."
The facility broke ground in December 2010 and was targeted for completion in early 2012, but due to construction issues it is now expected to open this June instead.
"It’s a little behind than what we wanted to be," Landry said. "When we were doing the concrete we had a lot of weather issues and that obviously slowed us down a little bit, but we’re almost there."
The idea for the project was originally brought about in 2006 before receiving funding through a bond issue in 2009 at a cost of $3.4 million.
"This facility is seven years in the making from planning to touring other facilities, figuring out exactly what they wanted to do and what we needed here in this parish," Landry said.
The new streamlined facility will have many improvements including decreased patient wait times, increased room size and patient privacy. Doctors will also have more technologically-advanced equipment on hand to care for patients. Landry says the new facility will be a remarkable advancement over the current emergency room, which is part of the original hospital building that was constructed in 1959.
"We never really had a facility that was built for emergency services. We kind of just had to move around the hospital and this is one of the original parts of the hospital that emergency room is in now," Landry said. "So with this new expansion it’s going to bring in a lot of these services."
Upgrades over the old facility include tripling the space to 12,000 square feet and the introduction of state-of-the-art technology throughout.
The new emergency facilities will also have space devoted to patients based on their level of sickness that includes an internal waiting room separate from the outer waiting room.
The outer waiting room will be reserved for the family of patients. The internal room will be in view of the nurse’s station and will be for those who are sick, but do not immediately need a bed.
The introduction of a portable X-ray machine and close proximity to the hospital’s imaging center will allow doctors to more easily order and evaluate diagnostic tests for patients in emergency care.
The new facility will also be able to board doctors and other health professionals during hurricanes.
"When we have a big storm coming through this hospital still needs to be under function and we understand that the doctors and the nurses will still need a place to be and they’ll have to sleep here. So we incorporated that here in this facility too," Landry said. "Basically if we need to live out of this building for a couple of days we can."
Landry said of all of the upgrades the new facility offers the most important one is the function it will serve as the first stop for St. Charles Parish residents.
"If someone is having a heart attack within St. Charles parish the quickest and the best route to go would be to come here. Because they can get here in a matter of minutes it is so quick," Landry said. "Our EMS times are some of the best in the state. Our door to doc times are also some of the best in the state. We’re averaging 10 to 13 minutes from the time you walk in until the time you see a doctor."
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