Summa Barberton Hospital is expanding its ability to provide emergency medical care with the opening this month of a bigger, more modern $17.3 million emergency department.
At nearly 32,000 square feet, the new ER is three times the size of the existing facility, which was last updated in the late 1970s.
The existing emergency department was designed for about 27,000 patients annually, while the new space is expected to be used to treat 42,000 people the first year, said Dr. Steven Lepsky, medical director of emergency services at Barberton Hospital.
“We’re really looking forward to moving into the new facility and having a world-class emergency department,” said Tom DeBord, president of Summa Barberton and Summa Wadsworth-Rittman hospitals. “This is a service that truly does impact everybody in the community.”
The new emergency department will open to patients at 5 a.m. March 11.
Barberton Hospital is holding an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday to offer the community a sneak peek at the new department.
Self-guided tours, free blood pressure screenings, light refreshments and a drawing for a Kindle Fire will be available during the event.
Many ERs here and nationwide continue to face a space crisis as the number of patients they serve each year far exceeds the amount they were constructed to handle.
The ER expansion at Barberton Hospital is part of an overall $96 million investment Summa is making to enhance its emergency services.
Other projects included the ongoing expansion of the Akron City Hospital emergency department and the opening last year of a satellite emergency department in Green.
Barberton’s new ER is on the south side of the hospital near the Parkview Cancer Center.
The hospital’s former cafeteria and conference center were relocated last year to make room for the expanded ER.
The Barberton Community Foundation helped pay for the new cafeteria with a $500,000 grant.
The new emergency department houses 46 private rooms, an increase from 28 in the existing department. The rooms are separated by walls instead of the curtain dividers found in the existing department.
“People want private rooms,” said Brant Russell, vice president of clinical and support services at Summa’s Barberton and Wadsworth-Rittman hospitals.
Unlike the existing ER, Russell said, the new emergency department provides separate entrances for walk-in patients and those transported by ambulance.
The new space also includes three “triage rooms” in the front that will allow medical personnel to quickly examine patients and determine the severity of their illnesses and injuries. Ten fast-track rooms designed for less serious problems also are placed at the front of the department to speed patient care.
Along with general rooms that can be used to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries, the enlarged space also has two resuscitation rooms for critically ill patients, “safe” rooms for patients experiencing behavioral health problems, infection-control rooms, a bariatric room for obese patients as large as 1,000 pounds and space for victims of sexual assaults, according to Nancy Eckard, director of the Center for Emergency Services at Barberton Hospital.
Each room has a bedside computer for doctors and nurses to use instead of the old paper charts.
“We'll be able to spend more time with the patients,” Lepsky said.
A dedicated digital radiology suite within the new department will enable patients to get X-rays without having to travel to another part of the hospital.
The equipment throughout the department is all new and upgraded, Lepsky said. “All of that is cutting edge.”
Barberton Hospital's emergency department treats patients primarily from Barberton, Norton, Doylestown, Coventry, Copley and southeast Akron, DeBord said.
The emergency department employs about 70 nurses, 11 doctors and six mid-level providers, though more staff could be added as the number of patients treated increases, hospital officials said.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.