Beaufort Memorial Hospital moves ER department today

emoody@beaufortgazette.comApril 3, 2012 

Kevin Dremer, director of the emergency department at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, is photographed in the hospital ER on Tuesday. The hospital is moving its emergency room functions to another part of the hospital starting on Wednesday morning while the current emergency room is renovated and expanded from 9,500 square feet to 20,500 square feet. Work is expected to be done in November or December.

JAY KARR, THE ISLAND PACKET

  • Questions or comments about the temporary emergency room at Beaufort Memorial Hospital? Tell any ER nurse, or contact ER director Kevin Kremer at 843-522-5105.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital is moving its emergency room this morning and is trying to make the changes as easy to understand as possible.

For eight months, emergency treatment will be in the former transitional-care unit, which can be reached through the Cochrane Heart Center entrance of the hospital at 955 Ribaut Road. The emergency department is being expanded from 9,500 square feet to 20,500 square feet. Work is expected to be completed in November or December.

"In an emergency, when people are anxious and nervous, they will go to where they are familiar," ER director Kevin Kremer said. "So we're trying to make it clear."

The move is part of a $14.5 million renovation project that will bring the ER up to 26 private treatment rooms, including two trauma rooms, a decontamination room, and a results waiting-area, according to a news release.

The ER treated 40,000 patients last year, twice as many as it was designed to handle. The current ER has 17 beds while the temporary one will have 21, some of which share a room.

Non-essential equipment and supplies were moved earlier this week. The transfer of patients and other equipment will start at about 7 a.m., and Kremer hoped to finish by noon. With volunteers and paid staff contributing, he expects about 30 people will help with the transition

Patient rooms tend to be slightly larger and there are a few more beds in the temporary building, but the waiting room for visitors is smaller and parking is limited, Kremer said. Therefore, patients are asked to only bring essential visitors, preferably just one.

"Our focus is going to be on the patient so, if needed, visitors may be asked to step outside, maybe go get a sandwich," he said.

Currently, it takes about 20 seconds to get a patient from the ambulance to a trauma room, Kremer said. In the worst-case scenario, in which the staff would have to wait on the elevator to reach the temporary ER, it might take about 90 seconds, he said.

Because time is critical, a doctor and nurse will be waiting with emergency equipment at the first-floor entrance to provide immediate treatment, he said.

When using the temporary ER:

  • Use the driveway for the main hospital entrance, which will have red "Emergency" signs. The current ER entrance will be blocked when the transition is complete.

  • Visitor parking will be on the right of the entrance.

  • Enter through the Cochrane Heart Center.

  • Security and wait staff will be inside the entrance. A security guard also will be posted on the second floor.

  • Minor-emergency patients will go to a waiting room on the right, which connects to triage rooms.

  • Serious-emergency patients will go to the left, down a hallway and up to the second floor. Visitors are asked not to use the elevators unless necessary because hospital staff will use them to transport patients.

  • Two trauma rooms are across from the second-floor elevators. Other patient rooms are down the right-hand hall, past the nursing station.

  • Related content

    1. Beaufort Memorial to move emergency department, Feb. 9, 2012
    2. Beaufort Memorial Hospital plans to expand emergency room

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