Crews are currently conducting the final inspections of Sevier Valley Hospital’s new emergency center, which is opening this week.

The new emergency center’s new entrance, located on the southeast end of the hospital, is due to start accepting patients this week. The new entrance will allow the hospital to remove a temporary hallway that was erected to shelter those headed to the emergency room during the construction phase, said Gary Beck, hospital administrator.

“Everyone has been very patient with us through the construction,” Beck said. The new emergency center and women and children’s complex represent a more than $9 million investment in the hospital. 

“We want to be the hub for the area,” said Camille Ogden, emergency room manager. “That’s what we’re trying to create here.”

The new emergency center includes two trauma rooms, which if necessary can accommodate two patients at a time.

“We hope we don’t have to do that,” Ogden said. The two rooms replace the single trauma room the hospital has been relying on. 

“We have had two at once, so this will be nice,” Ogden said.  The trauma rooms are both larger than the old facilities, which are being closed this week so they can be remodeled. Once the remodel of the old emergency center is complete — tentatively in summer 2018 — there will be nine private rooms for patients. 

Privacy concerns drove much of the design on the new emergency center. The patient rooms are walled off from each other, instead of separated by curtains. Doctors and nurses will also have more room to treat patients in the new rooms, Ogden said. 

In addition to larger patient rooms, the emergency center is wired to provide more resources for medical personnel. By utilizing Intermountain’s telemedicine services, doctors and nurses in Richfield can be connected instantly with specialists in Salt Lake City or Provo. Using cameras and monitors, doctors can use telemedicine to consult with the team inside the treatment room.

The goal is to provide faster, more specialized care earlier, and also to help prevent patients from having to be transported in many situations, Ogden said. 

Rooms are also set up to access patient medical records and update patient medical records faster than ever before.

There is also a private consultation room separated from the waiting room. This room allows doctors to talk to family members about the physical or mental health of loved ones being treated in the emergency center. 

A triage area has also been constructed, which will allow staff to evaluate patient needs and prioritize them, Ogden said.

“Waiting has been an issue for us,” Ogden said. “This will help with the flow and reduce the wait time.”

In addition to the larger facility, the hospital is adding two more fulltime RNs to the emergency center. 

Another exciting addition to the emergency room is a shower, Ogden said. She said the shower, which can be accessed without entering any other part of the building, could be used to decontaminate patients before they are brought into the hospital. The water can be stored and safely disposed of so that contaminants don’t go through local sewer systems. 

The new emergency center also has a negative pressure room, which will be used in case of people who have possible contagions that could spread to other parts of the hospital.

“TB [tuberculosis] is the scariest one out there,” Ogden said. She said patients who are suspected of having TB would be put in the negative pressure room for treatment to prevent the spread of the disease.

The emergency center also has a new medications room, which is locked for security reasons. 

A new women and children facility opened earlier this fall, just in time to deal with an upswing in the need for obstetrics and neonatal care. 

“We’re up 50 deliveries from last year,” said Kenzie Peterson, women and children’s center manager. 

The new labor and delivery center offers three rooms designed to help mothers through the birthing process.

“The great thing is they are designed to accommodate all kinds of birth plans,” Peterson said. There is enough space in the delivery rooms for mothers to walk around while in labor, or take a bath in a jetted tub. 

The rooms are also connected with the telemedicine services, meaning that local doctors and nurses can consult with neonatologists in other hospitals. Specialists can monitor patients with high-risk pregnancies remotely, eliminating the need to the drive to Utah County.

“Our transports are down 75 percent,” Peterson said. She said by having the technology on hand to allow specialists to evaluate patients, the need to transport them to other hospitals is reduced.

The new women and children’s center is designed not only to preserve privacy, but also for security. 

The center has its own entrance and waiting room. The entrance only opens for people who are allowed in by staff as a security measure. 

A new nursery and postpartum area are currently being built, and should be finished in February 2018, Peterson said. 

Having its own labor and delivery waiting room means families no longer have to go through the general lobby of the hospital, which can help protect infants from being exposed to germs.

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