SHOALHAVEN, Australia — The Shoalhaven District Hospital emergency room in Shoalhaven opened the doors to its new expansion on May 22. The $1.8 million expansion was designed by MAAP, with Zauner Construction serving as the general contractor — both of which are located in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
The expansion includes a new design and layout for the hospital, with new equipment to promote better patient flow and access, as well as includes an open and spacious refurbished lobby. To appeal to children and families, a children’s play area was installed as well. Additionally, the triage and help desk were redesigned to increase visibility of staff for incoming patients and families.
Three rapid assessment zone bays — where ambulances drop patients off — were added in an effort to promote the quick and easy transfer of patients arriving by ambulance. In the short time these new zones have been in use, there has already been a significant reduction in ambulance waiting times, according to Hospital General Manager Shelley Hancock, who was also on site at the open ceremony.
In a similar effort, four new treatment chairs to service waiting room care and promote early assessment and care for walk-in patients and ambulance arrivals were added during the expansion. “The changes to the emergency department (ED) mean more patients will hopefully wait less time to be seen,” said Hancock in a recent statement.
The Shoalhaven region has experienced a growing demand for health services in recent years, according to South Coast Parliament Member Gareth Ward, who attended the hospital’s opening ceremony. “We have seen an increase on the number of sicker patients presenting to the hospital particularly over the past 12 months. That is why we pushed for this development to build up some capacity and improve performance,” Ward said. “The transformation of the ED and the revamp of a number of the hospital’s facilities will help to improve the flow of patients through this very busy area.”
The new hospital expansion is described as a “welcoming environment,” according to Hancock, and is part of a $5 million overall hospital improvement project, which included the addition of the Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre in 2013 as well as plans for a new parking lot on campus.