Mercy Hospital Emergency Department Renovation and Clinic Update
by Adam Amdor
From simple blood pressure checks to more serious issues, approximately 2,700 patients have passed through the Mercy Hospital Emergency Department since its renovation got the finishing touches six months ago. The completed project improves a number of things including confidentiality, safety, and security; as well as gives associates and patients a more comfortable environment during their time at the hospital.
“My staff and I love it,” said Candace King, the Mercy Emergency Department Manager. “Patients walk in and they comment on how beautiful and spacious it is.”
The $1.5 million renovation effort was funded entirely by capital funds from Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – Iowa, and generous contributions from the community of Oelwein, Mercy Auxiliary and Mercy Hospital associates. In addition the Mercy Hospital Auxiliary donated $20,000 for furnishings to decorate the new space. Mercy’s Employees Activities Committee (EAC) made donations for other furnishings throughout the remodeled areas. The EAC also paid it forward by contracting the local artisan team known as CJMS to design, create and frame stained glass windows for the registration area and Emergency Department.
It took a little time and effort to get to this point. “Everybody really put their heart into it,” says project manager Randy Myott, who is also in charge of plant operations at Mercy Hospital. “When I think of the whole project I think of how resilient our associates were in every department. Through this whole process we never lost any services. We still maintained our high level of care for our patients and their families. I was very impressed.”
The renovation provides an expanded Emergency Department with five fully-private emergency rooms, renovated nurse’s station, new private registration offices, new reception area and a new lab area. A secure ambulance facility houses two ambulances and provides climate-controlled patient delivery to the Emergency Department. After a groundbreaking ceremony, the entire project took just over a year to complete.
But the new construction is about much more than just nicer surroundings. An added layer of safety and security are at the top of mind when talking about the staff’s impressions so far. A keypad entry separates emergency exam rooms from the hospital entrance and waiting area. “We control who comes and goes. It flows much easier for all of us as far as disruptions and the security of everything and everyone,” said King. The newly-enclosed ambulance area helps with security too.
The weather-controlled environment not only helps the crew going to work, but also any patient coming or going. Myott says the new enclosed facility actually helps ambulance staff improve response time. “That’s their work area when they’re not on calls. They’re right there, and ready to go out as soon as a call comes in.” Critical care specialist paramedic teams assist the nurses in the Emergency Department when not responding to ambulance calls.
More than 100 people were able to explore the renovated Emergency Department during an open house on October 30. Several staff members were available to give tours of the department and talk people through where to come in, how to check in and where to go if they should ever need emergency services. Visitors were able to walk through the new ambulance garage and were allowed to see the emergency treatment area that would usually be restricted. The new reception area provided comfortable space for many people to take a seat to enjoy their refreshments and visit with each other.
“This project is a testament to our commitment to patients in our community,” said Terri Derflinger, site administrator of Mercy Hospital. The remodel has been her dream for the past few years. Now her goal has been accomplished. “It’s such a pleasant, positive atmosphere and it brings together what we have here – a family of associates welcoming the family of community. Our mission at Mercy Hospital is to be here for our community and for each other, and I think we’ve mastered that.”
A few steps away down the hall, the Covenant Clinic in Oelwein also saw an upgrade to more than half of its existing space. The $200,000 investment cleared the way for a new nurse station and new reception area. Offices were added for an additional health care provider and a social worker.
The new work space helps accommodate the three new providers that have joined the Oelwein clinic throughout the last two and a half years - Dr. Manju Mahajan, nurse practitioner Gayla Davis, and counselor Chidi Ojinnaka.
The clinic also provides Occupational Medicine services to the Oelwein area. The Oelwein clinic is able to provide DOT physicals, workers compensation and pre-employment physicals. Covenant Clinic Oelwein also provides office space for several specialists.
Covenant Clinic Oelwein is located next to Mercy Hospital at 129 8th Avenue SE. Schedule your next visit by calling (319) 283-6153. These providers are just a few of the more than 100 primary care and specialty physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and other health care professionals who share the common goal of providing quality health care services to people throughout northeast Iowa.