At 6 p.m. on Jan. 22, the Emergency Department was the first area to formally open and begin accepting patients.
“We are ready - we have to be,” manager Heidi Clark told the team that Friday evening.
ED teams are used to being prepared for anything, and the new Cox Monett makes the department more prepared than ever.
“This is a huge plus for our community, all the way around,” she says.
The new ED includes a number of new features that improve patient care.
One of the most obvious is the dedicated helipad just west of the ED. The previous hospital didn’t have a helipad and helicopters were forced to land in the parking lot. To fly a patient out, staff had to get the lot cleared.
“That was so difficult in a time-critical situation,” Clark says.
COVID-19 made it even worse. If a patient was positive and had driven themselves in, staff had to don PPE to move their vehicle.
As the pandemic continues, patients with other conditions, like heart and neurological issues, have been waiting longer to be seen. That means they are sicker when they arrive. Clark says the Monett ED team has flown an increasing number of patients in the last 3-6 months.
A dedicated helipad is key to getting those patients the care they need, quickly.
“When we are working with critical patients, it’s all hands on deck. Now, everyone can stay focused on that patient and not have to worry about the environment waiting for the helicopter to arrive.”
Patients arriving by ambulance will be unloaded in an enclosed ambulance bay, a major improvement compared with the outdoor loading zone at the previous hospital.
The bay also includes a hazmat decontamination room, which is key in a community that includes industries that work with hazardous chemicals.
“It is a big plus in being able to respond if they have an event,” Clark says.
Just inside the door of the bay, a new stretcher scale weighs patients as they are rolled into the ED. Accurate weights are key for medication mixing and administration, especially with time-critical diagnoses like heart attacks and strokes.
Inside, the unit includes 10 private beds, an improvement over the previous department that often relied on a couple of hall beds to expand capacity. The ED is designed so staff are centrally located, with easy visibility to the rooms.
Other features include:
- Enhanced multipurpose rooms that can be easily converted to care for patients seeking mental health treatment.
- A dedicated room for sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) to meet privately with patients and collect evidence.
- An expanded triage room for treatment and evaluation with EKGs.
Staff input drove the design. Everything from the location of the medication room to the position of Radiology’s CT scanner was chosen with efficiency and workflows in mind.
Clark says the new facility projects an image that matches the high-quality care inside. For her and the ED staff, that is a source of pride.
“My heart couldn’t have been more full hearing what our community members have had to say, and how grateful they are that CoxHealth has built this hospital,” she says. “People are excited to have a new facility and new building. It shows that Monett is a place for continued growth.”