By Brandon Summers
The renovation of CHI Health St. Emergency Department. Francis Medical Center on Grand Island, a $13 million project, is underway.
In May, emergency services were transferred to another part of the building, located off West Faidley Avenue.
“We are in the process of renovating the current emergency department,” said emergency department director Amelia Swanson. “Then we will add additional space and additional treatment rooms. This work has recently begun and is expected to be completed by spring 2023.”
With the renovation of the facility, which was built in the late 1970s, CHI is also adding more work space and additional treatment rooms, said Vice President of Care Services Kiley Grzywa.
“We’ll still be within range of the hospital. We will not go outside the outer walls necessarily,” Gjiva said.
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Moving the emergency department from the north side of the building to the west for the renovation was “pretty seamless,” Swanson said.
“It gives us a little more space, equivalent to what the new emergency department will be,” she said. “It brings us closer to an entrance for our patients to come in, so it’s easy for them to navigate. It gives us enough space to walk around. In fact, it has more space probably than what our current ED had.
She added: “It was a nice change.”
More space was needed, and that need was only growing.
“As time went on and technology changed and healthcare in general changed, our current space just didn’t meet those needs anymore,” Grzywa said. “We really needed to upgrade the space we had to better care for our patients, improve efficiency, hopefully help with treatment times and just make it a more comfortable place for our patients to receive care.”
More isolation rooms are being added to meet the demands of the pandemic.
“With the advent of COVID, it became clear that we needed more isolation rooms,” Swanson said.
Additional security is also added.
“There will be a security guard sitting by the front entrance, and then all entrances to the ED will be pass-controlled,” Swanson said.
With the renovation, CHI will also offer more specialized treatment rooms.
“We will have special rooms where we can provide safe care for patients who have suicidal ideation,” Swanson said. “There will also be a larger trauma ward to receive trauma patients. Since we work in a manufacturing community, there is a lot of chemical exposure, so we will also have two decontamination showers that will be open to the outside and easy for patients to enter. We can decontaminate them and not expose them to the whole emergency room.”
The plans were made with input from department staff and doctors, Grzywa said.
“With our suicidal patients right now, we have to make quite a few modifications to our rooms to safely care for these patients,” she said. “It’s going to make it a much simpler process and make it really the safest possible place for these patients to receive care.”
Swanson called the improvements “very exciting.”
“I’ve been a part of this community for a long time, and this is the next step that the community needs from the emergency room to provide safe and up-to-date technology care and meet the needs of the community,” she said.
Grzywa agreed, saying it will allow CHI to better care for its patients.
“Our patients are No. 1 here, and we want them to be able to come to a comfortable, inviting space that meets the needs of their growing families, our growing community, and has the space they need,” she said. “Technology has changed and we’re using much bigger equipment, state-of-the-art equipment, and we want to make sure we have room to grow in the future.”
For more information about the services of CHI St. Francis in Grand Island visit chihealth.com/st-francis.html.