2017-07-14 / Schools

A look inside new ER

Set to open by end of summer
By Anne Kallas
Special to the Acorn

READY—One of the trauma rooms at the new emergency department
at Ventura County Medical Center. The new and updated ER
departments will have 27 examining rooms and seven triage bays. The
facility is scheduled to be finished in spring 2018.RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers READY—One of the trauma rooms at the new emergency department at Ventura County Medical Center. The new and updated ER departments will have 27 examining rooms and seven triage bays. The facility is scheduled to be finished in spring 2018.RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers A matter of minutes can be the difference between life and death when it comes to emergency medical care.

The new emergency department in Ventura County Medical Center’s just-completed north tower will provide doctors and nurses at the county’s only public hospital with the most up-to-date facilities and equipment to ensure not a second is wasted when treating critical patients.

“A doctor’s time is everything. The faster we get information, the faster we can treat the patient,” said Susan Scott, director of transition at the Ventura medical center. “We get care to where it’s needed as soon as possible.”

A ribbon- cutting for the $304-million north tower was held June 9. The new ER, part of the medical center’s Loma Vista Road campus, is slated to open to patients by the end of the summer.

When it does, it will replace the current emergency department in the adjacent Fainer Tower, which will then be closed for renovations.

Eventually the new and updated ER departments will be merged to expand the area from 9,000 square feet to 22,000 square feet, said Joan Araujo, chief deputy director of the Ventura County Health Care Agency.

The combined ER, which will have 27 examining rooms and seven triage bays, is scheduled to be finished in spring 2018.

Ventura County Medical Center is the designated Level II Trauma Center for the West County, meaning it’s capable of treating the wounded from a mass casualty disaster in the area.

During a tour of the north tower’s emergency department, Scott pointed out new medical equipment that will allow for rapid test results and images.

“Having that technology critical. We have an EKG machine, ultrasounds, CT scan, X-ray machines. This is going to revolutionize the ER. We can have CT scans right away,” Scott said.

In addition, the new ER with its walled rooms will provide more privacy. In the current ER, curtains are used to separate patients.

Four respiratory isolation rooms, intended to prevent the spread of infectious airborne particles, will be used to house tuberculosis patients.

Rooms in the new north tower have beds that weigh patients, which is helpful for hospital personnel who must administer medications based on a person’s weight. Some of the beds can be used for X-rays, with the film located in a drawer underneath the bed, allowing the camera to be put into position overhead without having to move the patient.

The new rooms feature LED lights, which Scott said are much cooler than the incandescent lights used in the older building. The new lights can be adjusted to focus in on a very small area. Some rooms also have equipment for larger patients.

Each room is equipped with a silent alarm for medical staff safety. There is also a station for police offi cers in the ER.

“Violence in ERs is escalating. We see many patients over time and anything can happen. It’s a proactive approach to safety,” Scott said.

Some of the new machinery allows patients to walk around with wireless telemetry units, which monitor their vital signs.

All information gathered for each patient is automatically uploaded into the hospital’s computer system. When a patient is transferred to another department, caregivers there will have access to all of the medical history accumulated since the patient was first treated by emergency personnel.

The ability to closely track a patient from when they first step into the hospital is important, Scott said, because some conditions, such as strokes and cardiac problems, can show symptoms intermittently.

Scott said the main goal of the new ER department is to provide patients and their families with the very best in emergency care. “Everything is geared to keeping the patients comfortable. This new ER is very family-centric,” Scott said.

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