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Paynesville Press - March 20, 2002

New emergency wing in use at PAHCS

By Michael Jacobson

Bev Mueller moving into ER A new emergency wing - the first completed stage in a $7.4 million expansion and remodeling project at the Paynesville Area Health Care System - opened this week.

An emergency entrance in the new wing has been used for nearly five months, but actual patient care has still been done down the hall in the old emergency room.

Administrator Bev Mueeler moves the first supplies into the new emergency room.

PAHCS received state approval to use the new wing a week ago, on Monday, March 11, according to Bev Mueller, acute care administrator. State inspectors checked that the wing was up to code and safe to use, she said.

The new wing will be closer to the main nurse's station in the hospital, which should benefit staff and patients, according to Mueller. Nurses at the main hospital nurse's system will staff the new wing, which they will be able to see from the nurse's station, once renovations to that station are complete.

The closer proximity in the new wing should also allow doctors to see patients more effectively, said Mueller, meaning emergency patients should enjoy quicker service in the new wing.

"I think for the staff it should be easy because everything they need will be right there," said Mueller.

The new emergency wing has a new ambulance entrance on the west side and a separate nurse's station that will be staffed periodically.

Patients wanting to contact the nurse's station or the emergency room at the hospital should call 320-243-3767.

For an ambulance, dial 9-1-1.

ER map In addition to improved service in the new space, the new emergency wing was needed in order for the outreach department to get more space in the hospital. The outreach department was landlocked in the middle of the hospital.

By abandoning the old emergency room, that space can be used by the visiting specialists that hold outreach clinics at PAHCS. "We were running out of space," explained Mueller on the need for more outreach space. "The demand was there for physicians (in outreach) to come more frequently."

Also, she added, local physicians are doing more procedures, which also places increased demand on the procedure rooms in the outreach area.

The remodeling project at PAHCS remains about three months behind schedule. Originally, the new emergency wing was supposed to be finished in December.

In addition to the new emergency wing, PAHCS has gotten approval to open and use its first new birthing suite. This room is designed for all phases of child birth: labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery.

Two more birthing suites are still in the works, and until they are complete the single finished suite can only be used like a regular delivery room, meaning mothers and newborns will have to move to another room after delivery.

"Once we have all three, mothers will be able to labor, deliver, and have their postpartum all in one room," said Mueller.

The other two birthing suites are on schedule for completion in June or July, according to Mueller.

By June, the new dining room and one new tub room in the Koronis Manor should be ready for use. And improvements to patient rooms in the Manor - new heating and cooling systems and sprinklers - should be in place.

"Our goal, through all of this, is to provide the best possible care that's available," said Mueller.

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