Elmhurst Hospital completes expansion of emergency department
Elmhurst Hospital has unveiled a newly expanded emergency department that provides much-needed space to help handle a growing number of ER patients.
With the addition of eight beds, the emergency department could potentially accommodate 12,000 to 15,000 additional visits a year, hospital administrators say. And that extra capacity could translate into shorter wait times for patients seeking emergency care.
"It's another part of our efforts to make sure that patients are getting the care they deserve in a timely fashion to serve the community as best we can," said Dr. Michelle Meziere, the department's associate medical director.
The department was originally designed to handle 55,000 patients annually.
But last year, ER physicians treated 65,405 patients -- a 28 percent increase over the tally in 2012, the first full year of operation after the hospital's new main campus opened at 55. E Brush Hill Road.
A number of factors have led to the influx that mirrors national trends, including insurance changes and an aging population, physicians say.
"The surrounding ERs are also really crowded, and so we find a lot of people that used to go to maybe the eastern ERs or even a little bit west of us are coming here now instead," Meziere said. "We're kind of grabbing some market share from some other places."
During particularly busy times, some patients could end up in hallway beds. But with the expansion -- bringing the total number of department beds to 39 -- the hospital hopes to cut back on that practice, said Adam Johnson, the emergency department director.
"This allows privacy," Johnson said Tuesday in one of the new patient rooms. "This allows it to be a little more controlled environment."
The new addition will accept patients eight hours a day from 3 to 11 p.m. Each room is identical and comes with a bathroom.
"We have certain pods that are open around-the-clock and some that are open specific hours just based on volume trends," Johnson said.
The Elmhurst Memorial Hospital Foundation funded the $600,000 project to expand the department into what was a neighboring unit called the centralized admissions area. Crews broke ground in September on the first major modification to the department since the main campus was built at 55. E Brush Hill Road.
The hospital foundation also is raising funds to address space needs in the critical care and inpatient units, which are often at or near full capacity. Fundraising also continues for an expansion of the hospital's behavioral health services and preventive programs at the Diabetes Learning Center.