09/06/11 — Hospital project on track for 2012

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Hospital project on track for 2012

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 6, 2011 1:46 PM

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T.A. Loving Construction employees work on the expansion of the Wayne Memorial Hospital Emergency Department. The project is on schedule and, when completed, will triple the space in the department.

Construction of the expanded emergency department at Wayne Memorial Hospital is progressing smoothly, officials say.

"I know we're on schedule, even with the weather," said Joe DePalantino, vice president of operations. "Right now we're putting up the steel structures for the building. That should be complete by next Friday. And then they're starting to pour the concrete slab for the flooring (Friday) and should be finished with that about Sept. 15. So the building's starting to take shape."

The $18 million project is expected to more than triple the size of that department, from 11,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet, and from 22 to 42 patient beds plus four psychiatric beds.

Work began May 9. The project is expected to take a year, with a targeted completion date of June 2012.

DePalantino said there had been little disruption throughout the effort so far and patrons of hospital services had been very understanding of the new traffic pattern in that area.

"We appreciate the public in cooperating with us as we have had to change the entrances, how patients enter the emergency department," he said.

The expansion was based on the rapid increase in emergency department use. When the West Wing of the hospital was built in 1991, the emergency room was designed for a capacity of about 35,000 visits a year, said Tom Bradshaw, vice president of operations.

It's now seeing closer to 55,000 patient visits a year.

It's a common trend across the country, Bradshaw noted.

Hospital officials have tried to keep the distraction of construction from disrupting normal hospital operations. The biggest inconvenience has been in parking and it has been minimized, they say.

A decision about future of the existing facility has not been made.

Bradshaw has said the hospital leadership has discussed what best to do with the room but haven't made any decisions.

The new facility is designed to help speed the service provided.

"Our belief is that people come to the ER because they want to be seen quickly," Shirley Harkey, vice president patient services, said when work started.

The new design is expected to help not only patients, but staff as well. The layout is aimed at creating a more open viewing area for nurses to keep an eye on patients.

Officials have said they are keeping future expansion needs in mind even as the new emergency department takes shape.

The way it's designed, Bradshaw said, it would be easy to add an additional pod, which would provide eight to 10 more patient rooms.