Changing the way emergency medicine is practiced - June 2, 2013

June 02, 2013 12:00 am

Centrally located in northwest Indiana – in close proximity to heavy industry, mass transit and urban areas – the nonprofit Methodist Hospitals has been serving the populations of Lake and Porter counties, as well as the communities extending west to the Illinois border, east to LaPorte and Valparaiso, and south to Lowell, since 1911.

Now, as a result of an extensive $8 million dollar renovation at the Southlake Campus Emergency Department, Methodist’s dedicated staff is better able to deliver decreasing wait times while increasing the quality and delivery of patient services. In the new Emergency Department, the healthcare system’s longstanding commitment to the well-being of residents in the many communities it serves is immediately apparent.

Radiology, catheterization (cath) labs, nuclear medicine and complete laboratory services are all now conveniently connected enhancing the physicians, nurses and clinical staff’s ability to provide the best patient experience.

“When I came here seven years ago, the Emergency Department was antiquated, and I think even the patients realized that,” Emergency Department Medical Director, Michael McGee MD said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

“This far-reaching capital improvement project demonstrates Methodist Hospitals’ ongoing commitment to providing the best quality care in northwest Indiana, with a focus on the most complex cases across a range of specialties including stroke, brain tumors, cancer, trauma and high-risk pregnancy,” President and CEO Ian McFadden added. “It’s especially critical that we have an exceptional emergency department since we never divert patients to another hospital.”

“Because we do not close our doors for any reason at any time, we are constantly looking at time metrics – how long it takes for a patient to get from the door to triage, from door to bed and from door to doctor, which is most important to our patients,” Emergency Services and Critical Care Director Victor Garcia said. “Since we opened on March 20th, we’ve seen improvement every month. It’s an endless process. We are always looking to provide a better experience for the patient.”

Strategically designed with input from all areas to improve the flow and ultimately keep wait times down, the new Emergency Department is also equipped with the latest technology, including online bedside charting, state-of-the-art cardiac monitoring and end tidal co2 monitoring.

“All of the monitoring systems speak to our computers so we can keep a closer eye on our patients. We also have a new baby warmer that monitors breathing more closely and targeted temperature management (TTM) for patients resuscitated after cardiac arrest,” Emergency Department Charge Nurse Shelia Pochron said. “I’ve been here for 12 years. Now, patients are able to see the doctor more quickly – they go straight to the doctor from triage – so they are discharged more quickly. We’ve increased the privacy and improved the flow for them. It’s a night and day difference.”

“Our patient satisfaction has gone through the roof since the new Emergency Department opened,” Garcia explained. “Everything from the noise level, which is very, very quiet even when we are extremely busy, to one of my favorite spaces, the child-friendly family waiting room, to the ambulance entrance with direct access to our trauma rooms and the area’s only indoor HazMat shower has helped enhance the patience experience. This project was in the works for about five years, and I was fortunate to join the team right before it got started.”

“It’s our job to know who’s coming in and who’s waiting – to differentiate patients by how sick they are in order to keep those wait times down,” Pochron added. “The goal is to always have beds available for people coming in the door. There are two procedure rooms for immediate care, 23 private rooms in the central area, six fast-track rooms – three with recliners and three with carts for quick treatment and patient comfort – plus two trauma rooms capable of holding four patients.”

“Our surgeons are especially pleased with the capabilities of the trauma rooms,” Garcia said. “State-of-the-art monitoring plus the very latest equipment in an area designed for efficiency allow everyone to stay focused on the patient.”

Another facet of the new Emergency Department is the fact that we are now the only hospital in northwest Indiana to have trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) available 24/7, according to Pochron.

“It’s our goal to put these patients at ease and provide compassionate care from the time they arrive at our door,” she said. “A specially-trained and certified nurse is immediately called to take them to a separate room with access to a private bath. It’s important for everyone to know that evidence lasts for 72 hours, but the sooner they get to us, the more there is to collect. We handle kit collection, provide counseling/follow-up and take care of everything from the legal standpoint, including the police.”

“We went from 14,000 square feet to 21,000 during the renovation,” Emergency Department Nurse Manager Cindy Mirabella, RN, BSN said. “It’s nice to have everything sparkling, shiny and new, but when it comes right down to it, giving our patients the best and quickest care possible is our number one priority. Throughout the entire construction planning process, there was a real commitment to maintaining quality care from the top down.”

For more info:

Methodist Hospitals

Southlake Campus Emergency Department

8701 Broadway

Merrillville, IN 46410

(219) 738-5510