LAURINBURG – Visitors to Scotland Memorial Hospital’s emergency room may notice a little dust and noise in the next several months as the first two parts of a three-phase, $1.5-million renovation moves into high gear.
Phase 1 and Phase 2, projected for completion by March 2015, are part of an overall plan to increase patient capacity and reduce wait times for ER walk-in patients, according to Karen Gainey, Scotland Health spokesperson.
Phase 1 will relocate interior ER staff offices to the immediate left of the emergency room’s parking lot entrance, in a corner that was part of the waiting room.
The work area has been sealed off with plastic and canvas sheeting, and workers must enter through a door with a combination lock to keep out the public and hospital staff. Special mats have been placed on the floor outside to contain dry wall and other dust particles.
“Safety standards are definitely in place,’’ Gainey said, emphasizing that “noise and disruption of patient flow will be held to a minimum.’’
Phase 2 will convert the former interior office space into a four-bed lock-down area for ER patients who present with psychiatric and other mental health illnesses.
“We average two to five involuntary commitment patients daily who stay an average of two to five days, limiting acute care space,’’ said Dr. Doug Nederostek, medical director of the hospital’s emergency room, in a statement.
Shifting patients with mental health problems out of the hospital’s general patient population will free up more beds for other patients, Gainey said.
The first two phases are projected to cost about $600,000, with the remainder of the $1.5-million total earmarked for Phase 3, which will remodel the ER entrance and set up an open registration area with a triage nurse to expedite treatment of more critical cases.
The number of patients treated in Scotland’s emergency room continues to increase significantly every year, from approximately 29,000 patients in 2007, to 44,000 cases in 2012, according to Gainey. Based on current patient traffic, the hospital’s emergency room expects to treat a total of 47,000 patients by the end of 2014.
Once completed, the renovations are projected to enable the ER to treat up to 65,000 cases annually.
A substantial portion of the $1.5-million renovation cost will be covered by grants from two philanthropic agencies. The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Fund is providing $150,000; the Cannon Foundation kicked in another $100,000.
“We’re really excited about the improvements,’’ said RN Karen Carlisle, director of the ER’s nursing staff. “It will be a big plus for the patients and the staff. We’re just ready to get it all done as soon as we can.’’