Hospital Emergency Facilities Seek Approval for Expansion
New Britain [April 17 2006] -
Emergency Department Patient Visits Increasing
Visits to the Emergency Department at New Britain General Hospital have increased nearly 30 percent since a major renovation in 1997, with over 63,000 patients seen in 2005.
At near capacity and with the growth expected to continue, the hospital needs to expand its emergency services.
“Our community relies on New Britain General for the best possible health care — and relies on us when an emergency strikes,” said Hospital President Laurence A. Tanner. “The dramatic increase in patient use of our Emergency Department has compelled the Hospital to create a plan to expand our facilities.”
The hospital recently submitted a Certificate of Need to the State of Connecticut requesting permission to add 10,000 square feet and a 33 percent increase in beds to the department.
The Emergency Department in the Tomasso Tower was built just over 12 years ago. The ED was designed based on local, state, and national trends in hospital use. Since that time, a number of major changes in the way emergency rooms are used by the public has dramatically changed the equation.
The renovation would also include many improvements to existing technologies and patient care areas with greater privacy for patients and visitors. If approved, construction would begin in late 2006, and be completed in three phases over a two-year period. Such a schedule would minimize impact on patients and staff and allow for continuous and smoothly-functioning emergency service. The project is expected to cost $6.5 million.
The expansion would increase capacity, provide for better triage of patients, and give better access to imaging and laboratory services— all combining to offer better emergency care. With more exam rooms, a secure crisis stabilization unit, improved work flow, and better privacy, patients will be better served.
The most visible changes would be the addition of 11 additional beds (to bring the total to 45), private rooms instead of patient beds separated by curtains, and rooms that will be multi-functional instead of single purpose (e.g. trauma, Ob/Gyn).
Less visible, but no less vital would be various changes designed to streamline workflow patterns for staff; improve staff access to critical supplies; improve staff access to work stations closer to patient exam rooms; and make better use of advanced technologies already available. The ED recently installed a state-of-the-art computerized patient data system in December of 2005 called EmpowER to improve patient safety and staff access to medical information; the improvements will allow better use of this technology.
New Britain’s experience mirrors the national trend. According to the CDC, the number of visits to emergency rooms increased 26 percent across the U.S. from 1993 to 2003.
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