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Emergency Department renovations improve patient care and safety

Published 04/28/2021

Over the course of the past year, while South County Health focused on patient care during the COVID pandemic, the organization continued to remain focused on the future and its Next Century Plan, the system’s five year strategy for growth and continued excellence in health care.

Emergency Department Renovations

The Emergency Department is currently undergoing a significant renovation that will result in reduced wait times and delays, creating a ‘fast-track’ process to triage patients with urgent conditions and those with minor illness or injury, and enhance the environment of the Emergency Department throughout.

The first phase of the project began in March with completion expected by May 2021.

The 13,204 sq./ft. area will provide optimized emergency care for patients with serious and life-threatening conditions, while dedicating four bays with chairs where patients with less serious needs can be treated efficiently.

Air-cleansing technology

To enhance the safety of patients, visitors, and staff, the Emergency Department will install negative pressure air flow systems in waiting and treatment areas. This creates a single direction flow of clean air to provide a safe environment by reducing the risk of transmitting airborne respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

Using technology that cleanses air with hydrogen peroxide, incoming air will be disinfected before entering patient care and waiting areas.

Planning for the Emergency Department improvements focused on key areas – attentiveness, calmness, readiness, efficiency – identified as in need of improvement.


  • A patient’s first point of contact will be with a trained medical staff for triage based on medical priority
  • Whenever bays are available, a first-stage “Universal Care Platform” will allow nursing staff to bypass triage, allowing for direct placement into the patient care area. This platform brings registration, medical providers, and services direct to the patient, reducing the length of stay and wait time
  • During high-volume patient periods, a new second triage space will be available to facilitate more efficient examination and placement


Creating a space that is more aesthetically pleasing will promote a more healing environment. Amenities will include:

  • Separate areas for quiet space and TV viewing
  • Higher quality seating
  • Higher performing acoustics
  • White noise generation
  • Reduction of visual clutter
  • Natural lines of sight will be improved for staff supervision of triage, waiting, and the area near the public restroom


The renovated Emergency Department will address patients’ needs with:

  • Designated seating areas where patients with compromised respiratory systems will wait during a pandemic event
  • Air exhaust system includes family waiting/grieving room, providing further protection of patients and family members beyond the waiting and patient care areas
  • Modified areas will be redesigned to be ‘bariatric capable’ for the comfort and care of a variety of patient needs


A new four (4) bay Fast-Track Unit will support the direct bedding process in two ways:

  • Core bays will be reserved for higher acuity patients
  • Allows for faster turnover of bays when patients are ready for discharge but awaiting ride/transport


Completed Projects

Additional hospital improvements resulted in the construction of a seventh operating room, designed to accommodate surgical robotic technology, and the new endoscopy suite to improve the diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal conditions.