This is the second in a four-part series looking at the NGMC hospital patient tower expansion.
NGMC Gainesville emergency service officials provided an outlook Friday on how amenities in the new patient tower will hasten response time.
Northeast Georgia Medical center in Gainesville will soon have a completed patient tower on the northeastern end of the property, hosting many new resources and amenities for employees and patients. With 11 planned levels, an added energy facility and a new parking deck, the hospital hopes to more effectively serve the community.
Medical Director Dr. Corey Duncan leads the emergency services department at NGMC and said the expansion will enable healthcare professionals to better serve those in immediate need.
“Yes, it’s state-of-the-art, it's much larger,” Duncan said. “I mean, the floorplan of the emergency department is the size of a football field. So we've worked together with our physicians and APPs and our hospital staff to really build an emergency department that is state-of-the-art and functional for everybody. It will be able to provide the best care for trauma patients or stroke patients, our cardiac patients, and anybody who comes through the door.”
The new emergency department within the tower will include many new services that will drastically change what the department offers currently. The plan details a new private check-in area, larger waiting areas with views overlooking the hospital entrance and gardens, multi-use and private exam rooms and a completely separate entry and exit. Additionally, there will be designated spaces for trauma care, resuscitation, minor care, pediatrics and behavioral health.
Executive Director of Trauma and Emergency Services Angela Gary says the new space will fundamentally alter the patient experience in a positive way.
“One of the things that I think we're most proud of is we serve a large population of pediatric patients in our emergency departments,” Gary said. “And so we are dedicating a space inside of the emergency department to specifically have our pediatric patients go into that particular area. So we're gonna have a complete enhancement for our [pediatric] patients. And so their experience, the parent's experience, is going to be completely different than it is today.”
One of the major benefits coming to the emergency services department is the addition of a new helicopter pad on the roof of the new patient tower. Along with the pad, an elevator will be constructed, feeding down into the hospital with stops at all floors with major medical services.
Last week, Sen. John Ossof announced his secured funding of $2.1 million included in a recent omnibus spending bill. The funds will be used to construct the helipad, which will streamline the time it takes to get emergency patients the help they need.
Director of Trauma Operations Jesse Gibson says the helipad/elevator combination is a logistical improvement the hospital has needed for a while now.
“The elevator will come directly down to the back of the emergency department, along with other places that we could stop closer to our operating room as well,” Gibson said. “That's just going to allow us to get patients to the care they need quicker. And so I think that's the biggest benefit. And you know, it's going to benefit trauma patients, stroke patients, cardiac patients, sepsis patients, all the patients who come to us, whether it be from the scene somewhere in one of our far-reaching service areas, or if it's an inner hospital transfer from one of our referring facilities.”
Currently, the helipad for the medical center is located far enough away from the hospital that patients are required to be moved into an ambulance and then shuttled up the hill. Every second matters in life-threatening medical situations, and officials report the new helipad will help cut service times by a large margin.
“It's also going to benefit the fact that we've made a commitment to have an ambulance ready for our helicopter patients,” Gary said. “And so I'm just thinking about how we're going to be able to save from a resource perspective, not just the time to get critical care to these patients. But just the resources that we're going to be able to reallocate to do other things is going to be really beneficial as well.”
Gary closed her remarks by reaffirming how the improvement to the emergency services space will allow for a more positive patient experience while also reenergizing the medical staff.
Officials said they plan to host a ribbon cutting and have the building up and running by January 2025.
You can view the first part of this NGMC update series by clicking here.