Hospital: New emergency department is worth the wait

The Sun-Gazette

Kaweah Delta set to debut new, expanded and enhanced emergency department

VISALIA – After five years of planning and two years of construction, Kaweah Delta Medical Center will soon open its doors to an expanded, state-of-the-art emergency department (ED) to enhance the quality and efficiency of its emergency medicine services. The ED is a crucial part of patient care, and every modification and thoughtful decision was carefully designed to improve the patient experience by improving workflows, enhancing efficiency, and reducing wait times for patients and their loved ones during challenging times.

Kaweah Delta’s ED is one of the busiest in California, caring for approximately 90,000 patients each year. The medical center’s ED was originally designed to support the treatment of 72,000 patients a year. But, as the only trauma center between Fresno and Bakersfield, and one of only three emergency departments serving the nearly 500,000 living in Tulare County, Kaweah Delta was seeing in excess of 250 patients a day on a regular basis before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, that number has only slightly dropped to an average of 200 patients a day.

The solution to this growing problem is the renovation and expansion project that will increase the number of patient beds and rooms, creating a greatly improved patient experience by offering faster and more personalized service. The state-of-the-art design and layout increases patient beds from 41 to 74 and more than doubles the size of the waiting area to provide 100+ patients and their families with a larger, more comfortable environment. Currently, the ED waiting area can accommodate approximately 50 to 60 people, socially distanced six feet apart.

Kaweah Delta Medical Center’s new Emergency Department will increase patient beds from 41 to 74 and more than double the size of the waiting room accommodate more than 100 people, or between 50 to 60 under social distancing purposes.Rendering courtesy of Kaweah Delta Medical Center

In addition, more medical staff including providers and nurses will be available to provide care in the newly expanded ED, helping the medical center reduce wait times—an effort aided by Zone 6, our new patient care area which allows our team to more quickly screen patients, determine the level of their illness or injury, and provide them the precise level of care they need. More space and more staff will improve operational efficiency and have an immediate and positive impact on emergency care in our community. A point echoed by JR Garcia, ED tech supervisor at Kaweah Delta.

“Adding 33 more beds is huge for us,” said JR. “Our community is growing but the ED hasn’t. We needed to evolve to something bigger to care for the increasing population. The changes we are making will make things easier and more comfortable for our patients.”

Kaweah Delta is nearing the finish line for the ED expansion project with construction scheduled to be completed in March 2021. Although construction projects can be cumbersome in a busy hospital, change is necessary to meet the emergency health needs of our growing community and become your world-class health care choice, for life.

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