Harrison to open new $13 million emergency room

The long-awaited, brand new emergency room opens Tuesday at Harrison Hospital.

The ER is described as “expansive” and “state-of-the-art” by officials at the hospital in East Bremerton.

“What’s really different is that we now have ‘greeters’ who take patients back to one of three private examination rooms,” said Patti Hart, hospital spokeswoman on a tour of the new facility Friday morning. “It’s part of the triage we conduct to determine what’s needed.”

The old ER was about 5,800 square feet. The new facility is 19,000 square feet.

“We’ve long outgrown the old ER,” said Louann Bean, director of the hospital’s emergency and urgent care services.

“Working in such a facility is the chance of a lifetime professionally,” she said.

The ER will house a large family waiting area for the hospital’s Critical Care Department, offices and a staff lounge. Completion is slated for mid-April officials said. The enlarged space is part of an overall Emergency Department improvement that began in 2001 with an eye towards increasing patient satisfaction, and shortening the amount of time patients spend in the ER. Streamlined processes — from registration to lab and X-ray, and a new fast-track system for patients with less critical conditions — aim to bring positive results.

Hospital staff didn’t think small when envisioning the new ER, she said. Patient comfort prompted the adoption of a number of elements. Rooms are private, large enough to accommodate family members, and contain such family-friendly fare as televisions and telephones.

“The new building also speaks to calm and comfort, with plenty of skylights, open space, soaring ceilings and a tranquil color palette — essential to a healing environment,” said Bean.

The realities of a post-Sept. 11 world also shaped the new emergency department. A decontamination room — in the event of a chemical spill or toxic exposure — provides a separate isolation area.

A new rooftop helipad enables rapid transport of patients who need Level I trauma services of Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.

According to hospital architect Ram Prasad, “We literally traveled all across the country to examine new ideas.”

KMD Architects of Seattle, who also designed Harrison’s Silverdale campus and Radiation Oncology Center, planned the addition and overhaul of the old ER. Seattle’s Sellen Construction served as general contractor.

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