Hospital Expands Emergency Room

The J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital Emergency Department expansion is moving along, and organization officials say the project is on schedule.

As crews from Poole Anderson Construction of State Collegemove forward to a different part of the project this week, patients are being asked not to access the hospital’s emergency room via the main lobby.

According to Poole Anderson project manager Jason Sheffield, work is progressing on schedule, as the contractor moves into the third phase of the project.

“This includes changes in the wound care area, and we’ve also started renovations to the existing emergency department area,” said Sheffield. “This phase will be completed within two months, and crews are working in the existing ER waiting room and we’re going to give them a new emergency room registration, new vending machine area and a new triage area.”

When completed, the $2.1 million project will add 3,850 square feet to the emergency room department that will be able to serve approximately 24,000 patients a year.

The expansion will add five more beds, going from nine to 14, update and modernize equipment, add a second nurses’ station, add a room to improve medication dispensing and reduce medication errors and replace beds to have more comfortable amenities for patients.

The project also includes reconfiguring the wound care center.  The phase most recently completed included work in the wound care center.

“We’ve completed work in the new IT room, a new medicine room and a new nourishment facility in the emergency room,” said Sheffield.

After the third phase is complete, work will include the construction of a new quiet room and then focus on the actual emergency department area of the hospital.

According to Mike McKim, the hospital’s director of engineering services, the biggest challenge thus far has been providing the best ER access for patients.

“We’re trying to provide alternate routes and make the process as easy as possible,” said McKim. “It takes a lot of planning to do that. We have to consider all of the regulations (in this project), and that has to do with the patients.”

Chris Gildea, hospital marketing and community relations director, encouraged patients to only use the ER entrance for emergency purposes. It’s strongly urged that patients use the main entrance for all other hospital business during daytime hours.

Despite patients having to access the emergency department through a designated entrance, McKim said everyone seems to be cooperative.

“They ask what’s going on, but the patients seem to be taking it in stride,” said McKim. “This is still in the early stages. We have crews working nights and different hours, trying to minimize the impacts on patients. These are the pains of growing and expanding.”

Kylie can be reached at khawn@huntingdondailynews.com.