Emergency staff have to be prepared to treat the 60-year-old with heart attack symptoms, the toddler who needs stitches, and every patient in between. And their workplace needs to be as flexible and efficient as they are.
With that in mind, Lourdes hospital broke ceremonial ground Thursday on a new emergency department intended to provide faster patient turnover and improved access to care.
The $8.5 million expansion and renovation, set to be completed by the end of 2015, will feature separate entrances for private and emergency vehicles, 14 patient exam rooms, six private treatment bays for non-critical patient concerns, a decontamination room and a relocated helipad.
Lourdes President and CEO Steven Grinnell told groundbreaking attendees that the hospital aims to create both the busiest emergency department and the emptiest waiting rooms in the region.
The department now in use measures about 7,000 square feet and serves an average of 90 patients a day, according to Lourdes Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Jeremy Klope. It was built in the late 1970s and last renovated in 2003.
"Emergency care has advanced considerably since then, so we are excited to have a space that is advancing with it," Klope said. "We're creating a space that's both flexible and adaptable for whatever may come through that door."
He added that "boots-on-the-ground" emergency staff helped with the design over the course of about two years.
"We really feel like the folks who are working there every day know what we need," he said. "When you work in the emergency department, you have to be ready for anything."
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.