Upgraded ER opens at Cape Coral Hospital
Cape Coral Hospital opened its doors Sunday to showcase the completed first phase of its upgraded Emergency Department.
City officials, medical professionals and curious members of the community toured the new section of the emergency room from 1-3 p.m.
Doug Luckett, chief administrative officer for Cape Coral Hospital, said the constructed building is a fast track area designed for less severe problems.
“The side they are opening today is more of fast track care for people with less emergent issues,” he said. “We see a lot of that in emergency rooms.”
The trend for many hospitals is to adopt a layout to resemble independent urgent care centers, such as the Urgent Care Centers of Southwest Florida with offices in Cape Coral and across Lee County.
The number of uninsured patients utilizing the emergency room for primary care has sparked this trend, said Luckett, and hospitals are hoping to deal with this through offering more walk-in services.
“Hospitals are trying to embrace the urgent care center to satisfy that need,” he said.
Some 25 percent of all LMHS emergency room visits are by people without insurance, according to the system’s 2017 Community Health Visioning report. That amount has probably increased as the unemployment rate hit 13.5 percent since a majority of people get health insurance from employers.
Patients who enter the new fast track area will be triaged in one of three rooms. If doctors or nurses find patients’ injuries are more extensive, they will be transferred to another section of the emergency room.
The fast track section has 10 exam rooms, while the rest of the department will have 17.
Polly Spade, emergency room director for Cape Coral Hospital, said she is “ecstatic” about the upgrading of the department.
She said the old department had the ability of serving 35,000 patients each year, but the hospital was receiving 55,000 annually.
The new section opened at 8 a.m. Monday.
Spade said she has been working vigorously with staff to get all of the equipment up and running.
“We’ve been getting it ready to open tomorrow,” she said Sunday. “When it is complete by December 2011, it will increase capacity from 24 rooms to 42.”
Equipment in the new section is state-of-the art. Flatscreen televisions are posted in the waiting room and each examination room for patient comfort, XM Radio is broadcast all day and a children’s play area has toys and a built-in PlayStation game system.
It also has the first dedicated pediatric room in Cape Coral Hospital, said Jessica Krinke, a registered nurse.
The room has painted murals, children’s toys, a portable Wii and medical supplies designed for children — items as simple as cartoon adhesive bandages to miniature oxygen masks.
“We always try to make accommodations for kids, but now we have something meant for children,” she said.
The city’s hospital has also partnered with The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida as an extension of the HealthPark Medical Center’s pediatric services.
If a child’s medical issues are severe they can be brought upstairs to the hospital’s pediatric department or taken by ambulance to HealthPark.
Now that the first phase is complete, Luckett said the second will begin this week, followed by the final phase. Each takes approximately six to eight months to finish.
Luckett recently took over as chief administrative officer for Cape Coral Hospital after Dr. Larry Antonucci was promoted to oversee all of Lee Memorial Health System’s hospital campuses.