Avera Medical Minute AM: Avera Marshall announces plans for new emergency department

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The Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center is gearing up for a massive emergency department renovation. Once complete, the department will nearly double in size.

“We haven’t renovated for almost 20 years, so it’s time. It’s due,” said Karen Maher, Avera Marshall Emergency Department manager.

The Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center served fewer than 5,000 emergency patients per year when it was last remodeled in 1997. Fast forward to 2016 – 7,800 patients were seen in the emergency department, a 60% increase.

“We’re seeing more sicker patients, people critically ill. We’re seeing more people coming in from surrounding towns. We’re getting transfers now where we didn’t typically get that before,” said Dr. Tim Hindbjorgen, Avera Marshall Emergency Department physician.

“This new facility will accommodate the increased volume of emergency visits we’ve seen in recent years as well as the latest technology in emergency care,” said Mary Maertens, Avera Marshall Regional President and CEO.

“So instead of the one trauma room, we’re going to have two different trauma rooms like this,” said Dr. Hindbjorgen.

Dr. Hindbjorgen says the emergency department will go from having just five patient care rooms to 10, all of which are private.

“Years ago, our rooms were just separated by a curtain and then we put up walls between them and we have a glass sliding door now. Our new department is going to have a core concept with doors that close. It will be much more quiet. They probably won’t hear anything going on anywhere else in the department and that’s what we want because it’s about them. It’s not about the other people in the department,” said Dr. Hindbjorgen.

Avera Marshall Emergency Department manager Karen Maher says the remodel is all about patient safety, privacy and experience.

“Now with the 10 bays, we should not have patients waiting because they always say that the one out in the waiting room is the one that should be worried about the most,” said Maher.

Construction on the 10,540 square foot emergency department is set to begin after the start of the new year.

“We want that entire space, that end of this building, to be dedicated solely to emergency medicine,” said Maertens.

The project cost is $6 million. The Avera Marshall Foundation is conducting a $600,000 fundraising campaign to contribute toward the remodel.