Grady anticipates new level of care, capacity for ED

Huge addition and expansion mean even higher profile for this storied hospital

The Emergency Department at Grady Memorial Hospital already boasts quite the reputation with its national acclaim. Now with an ongoing expansion, the powers that be promise to take it to the next level.

Although the entire project won’t be wrapped until next year, Michelle Wallace, vice president of clinical operations of Grady Health Systems, gives us a peek behind to the curtain at what to expect.

On the current Emergency Department and what’s to come:

“Presently we have 73 patient care spaces. And 39 of those are acute care. Heart attacks, strokes, traumas and those types of things go in there. Included within that 39, 15 of those are the trauma beds in the Marcus Trauma Center. We have a very small six-bed detention area, as well as a six-bed behavioral health area, for our prisoner population. And then we have fast track and urgent care beds within the department.

Moving forward in the new department, we’ll have a total of 89 patient care spaces in the Emergency Department. In addition to that, we have 20 beds in our Clinical Decision Unit, which was built a year and a half ago. Specifically within those 89 spaces, we’ll be gaining 14 acute care beds. We’ll also gain a total of 10 detention areas, and we’ll be doubling our behavioral health area from six to 12. We’ll also be increasing items like our resuscitation rooms. We’ll have two of those, as well as some sub-waiting areas.

On what the project entails:

“Back in the fall 2012, we had FreemanWhite come to Grady. They’re a nationally known emergency department architecture firm. They came in and did some simulation and helped us in designing the department. In September 2013, we had board approval to move forward, and we broke ground on the new addition in February of 2014. The new addition is the five-story tower that will be seen from the Grady curve. This is where the behavioral health and prisoner patient area will be located. It’s about an additional 15,000 square feet. That’s the bulk of the activity that’s happened up to this point. Back in April, we started the internal construction. We moved our waiting room when they started construction on the new entryway to the department. That should probably conclude in September. The rest of the renovation will be done in stages throughout the next 16 to 18 months, and should be completed by fall of 2016.”

On what enhancements to expect:

“There are a couple of main points. From the patient perspective, which is most important, the environment and flow is going to be warm and patient-centered. It will be larger. For example, in our acute care rooms, we have a family side and a provider side. That way we can have the family and friends of the patient at bedside, and the team working on the other side of the patient. The flow [in the department] will be linear, so the patient won’t feel like they’re going to one spot and just sitting [forever.] The environment in general is going to be completely different, from the color scheme to the furniture. It’s going to be more comfortable for the patients and not so hospital-like.

For our staff and physicians, the new department will allow care that is at the point of the patient. The staff will have the appropriate space to do their job, and the equipment and supplies will be located right there and ready to go for the patient. That way the staff doesn’t have to go from one end of the department to the storage unit at the other end of the department.

A lot of the mechanisms and evident space processes that we’re using give us flexibility to adapt and change as our volume fluctuates. So as it goes up, we’ll able to fluctuate and do things a little bit more creatively and provide more care. It’s a very exciting time to be at Grady.”

On how the new department will take Grady’s Emergency Department reputation to new heights:

“Grady, in general, is going through an amazing transformation and we have been for the past several years since [president and CEO] John Haupert arrived. This is just the visual picture of a lot of the changes that are going on inside of Grady. It’s a great way to elevate and show our patients how much we are investing in them. It’s an investment in our staff and physicians as well. We want to show everyone that not only do we provide outstanding care, but we’ll have the environment to match it.”

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