G.R. HOSPITAL OPENS NEW ER

January 14, 2002 11:00 pm
NEW TRAUMA ROOM: Sharon Larsen, an Emergency Services Department nurse, checks equipment in the trauma room in the Grande Ronde Hospital addition. Medical devices are attached to a tower that allows workers full access around a patient. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
NEW TRAUMA ROOM: Sharon Larsen, an Emergency Services Department nurse, checks equipment in the trauma room in the Grande Ronde Hospital addition. Medical devices are attached to a tower that allows workers full access around a patient. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

By Alice Perry Linker

Observer Staff Writer

The sirens grow silent as the ambulance turns into the covered bay and stops in front of a wide hospital door. Paramedics leap out, open the back door and gently move the patient on the gurney into the shiny hall and down a few steps into the state-of-the-art trauma room.

It all begins today, as Grande Ronde Hospital opens its new emergency room to patients.

Well be working all night, said hospital spokeswoman Kathy Weber, during a tour Monday of the new wing.

Although the hospital has been using much high-tech equipment, the new emergency room makes it more accessible to the nurses and doctors who must act quickly to care for extremely ill or injured patients. Pillars containing the multiple strands of wiring necessary to run computers, heart machines, defibrillators and other equipment rise from floor to ceiling, conveniently located so that care givers dont have to bump or move the patients as they turn on the machines.

A sign of the times is the new decontamination room, which doubles as an admitting room, for a few months. Janet Wright, vice president for patient care, said plans for the decontamination room had been drawn well before deadly anthrax began appearing in envelopes last fall.

Before, we just had a shower, Weber said.

The emergency room is centered by a spacious work station for nurses and care givers. From the station, nurses can see the patients as well as monitor vital signs. For the first time, doctors have a small private room near the nursing station where they can dictate information.

Another new feature, especially important in examining injured victims of sexual attack, is a private examination room with a private bath. The rooms can be closed off from the hallways.

The walk-in entrance to the emergency room has been relocated temporarily. Patients now enter through a door west of the front entrance, avoiding the main lobby.

As the new emergency room opens, construction on the second phase of the emergency and admitting departments begins. Unlike the new room, which required building expansion, the changes in the lobby and admitting room are basically a remodel of the old emergency room and admitting space.

Wright has predicted that remodeling will be finished in about four months.

After the new admitting rooms are complete, they will be separate from the main lobby area, allowing patients greater privacy and confidentiality as they check in to the hospital. The admissions area for walk-in emergency patients will be situated beside the regular admissions desk, only a few steps from the emergency room.

Hidden away in the back of the ambulance bay is an 80-by-25-foot room that keeps the emergency room functioning. Here, incoming air is filtered before it goes into the emergency room. A separate generator will power the unit when the electricity fails.

Steve Spencer, who directs hospital renovations and additions, said the complete cost of adding the emergency room and expanded admissions area is about $3.5

million.

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