MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - From more space to new state-of-the-art equipment, the emergency room at the Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center has been totally redone.
A multi-million dollar project has expanded and enhanced the department in order to provide a better patient experience for veterans.
The Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System hosted a ribbon cutting and open house for the new ER Monday morning at the hospital on Perry Hill Road.
"The construction started in February of 2016. The emergency department has expanded from 3,000 thousand to over 9,000 square feet. The total cost of the project, including design and construction, was $3.5 million," said Gerald DeWorth, Acting Associate Director of Operations.
Dr. Darryl Harris, CAVHCS Emergency Department Chief, said the new setup provides more privacy in the treatment area.
"There's a single bed whereas before, we had the ward-style bedding with curtains separating the veterans so it wasn't very private. Now they have individual rooms. We have up-to-date cardiac monitoring systems, IV systems and it's a comfortable environment for the veteran and their family," he explained.
According to Harris, the project was seven years in the making.
"We've gone from six treatment rooms to 19 treatment rooms which include specialized areas, like mental health which has four rooms, isolation care which has two rooms, GYN care which has one room, as well as major procedures," he added.
The waiting room is now three times its previous size and even has cell phone charging stations.
There's also a more efficient flow for patients and staff, thanks to dedicated triage rooms.
"They allow the veteran to move from the waiting room, directly to triage where their vital signs are taken and their chief complaint recorded in the system. Then they move from the triage room, to a treatment room," Dr. Harris said.
Before, because of space constraints, the veteran would typically go back to the waiting room after triage to wait.
"The veterans are able to come straight back for the most part," Harris stated. "With this facility and the new footprint, it allows us to meet the expectations of what community emergency departments would provide, which includes a comfortable, clean and modern area along with the staff providing the maximum amount of caring and service to the veterans who deserve that care."
Dr. Linda Boyle, CAVHCS Director, said the overhaul of the emergency department is an opportunity for CAVHCS to give quality care to veterans.
"It's a better place for patient-centered concerns with a state of the art monitoring system and everything else we would need. It's awesome," she said.
She hopes patients find the space very welcoming.
"I like the fact that we have a specialized isolation room for those patients who may present illnesses that need to have a negative pressure room, like tuberculosis. I also like the fact that we have a place for our veterans who may be suicidal where we can closely monitor them while they're here until we can get them the treatment they need," Dr. Boyle added.
CAVHCS officials thanked everyone involved in the project.
"I know it will be a great service to our veterans who will get great care here," said Rozelia Bean, the former Associate Chief of Acute Care and Specialty Nursing.