Fairview announced May 16 that it will expand the hospital’s current 15,000-square-foot emergency department to 38,700 square feet. The number of patient rooms in the new Carl N. Platou Emergency Center will increase from 30 to 43.
Platou oversaw the founding of Fairview Southdale in 1965.
Fairview Southdale President Brad Beard noted that the new emergency center will serve the area for at least the next 20 years and will provide patients with a better experience and use of technology.
“It’s a wonderful way for the hospital to really reach out to the community and engage the community,” he said.
The new center is expected to open in 2015. Fairview is designing the new emergency room for faster triage and treatment. It will include a new rooftop helipad, larger rooms for patients and a new observation space to monitor patients who need further care but don’t need to be admitted, according to Fairview.
The new emergency center will also include the new Popp Center for Chronic Disease Care. The center’s goal is to treat patients in the emergency room in partnership with their primary care and specialist doctors, instead of treating the patient’s trip to the emergency room as an isolated incident.
Fairview’s current emergency department was designed to manage 30,000 visits a year. There were nearly 43,000 visits last year, Beard said. The expansion will allow for the management of 70,000 visits a year.
The long queues of patients in Fairview Southdale’s emergency room was the impetus of the new emergency center. Patients are treated in terms of severity, and someone with a non-life threatening issue may end up waiting for hours, Beard said. The new emergency center will address that by creating a different care experience that will allow patients to have better care and be seen more quickly, he said.
Fairview’s staff has discussed creating a new facility for several years. The future includes aging baby boomers, changing technology, a decrease of in-patients who stay overnight and an increase of ambulatory care, Beard said.
The emergency department at Fairview Southdale has remained largely unchanged since 1985, when it went from 8,000 square feet to the current 15,000 square feet, he said.
They’ve wrestled with a lack of space for the past five years. At times, there’s enough space in the emergency room, but when the prime time happens, between 4 p.m. and midnight Friday through Monday, they run out of space, he explained.
The new emergency center will be designed to have a calmer atmosphere than a typical emergency room. Beard referred to it as an on-stage, off-stage set up where there will be an outer and inner core. Right now patients look out into the “fishbowl,” where they can see activity around them, but they aren’t being taken care of, he said.
The concept of an observation space is new to many hospitals, but it is a trend that’s gaining ground. Fairview’s space will include 18 beds for patients who may have health problems, like a migraine or diabetes, who don’t need to be admitted but are being currently admitted, he said. The patients will be able to remain in the observation space for up to 23 hours and 59 minutes. This will allow the hospital to take care of a patient in a cost-effective manner and provide a better experience for the patients, he said.
The new emergency center will also include an urgent care that will allow patients with non-life threatening health problems to be seen right away without having to wait behind patients with more serious issues like heart attacks and strokes, he said.
City staff has been discussing with Fairview the potential for an expanded emergency room for some time now.
City Manager Scott Neal lauded what the project will bring to the city. The new emergency department will be a “huge benefit to the residents of Edina,” he said. The close proximity to world-class medical care is a positive for the quality of life that Edina offers, he said.
The project will go through the public regulatory process with the same rigor as other construction projects in the city and the public will have an opportunity to weigh in, Neal added.
The Fairview Foundation is hoping to raise a total $15 million for the project by the end of 2014 and $7.5 million has been contributed so far.
“It’s an ambitious project and to build the very best, we need to partner with the communities we serve to raise an additional $7.5 million in the next 18 months,” said Larry Laukka, chair of the fundraising campaign.
More information about the project can be found at fairview.org/emergencycenter.
Contact Lisa Kaczke at [email protected]