JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville's busiest emergency room just got a $23 million renovation. Doctors say it will improve flow, streamline care and allow patients to be treated faster and more efficiently.
Construction at Memorial Hospital started a year and half ago, and the doors will officially open sometime next week.
The community is invited in this weekend to take a look at the changes.
After an emergency, an ambulance takes you to the closest hospital that can meet your needs. Memorial Hospital has 120,000 visits every single year, making it the busiest Emergency Room in town.
To meet demands, the hospital has made some big changes.
"It was beyond time for us to invest in such a busy part of our organization," Memorial CEO Bradley Talbert said.
Talbert has watched the collaborative effort unfold and said he couldn't be prouder.
"As you come in, you'll see our new waiting room. It's beautifully appointed ... very spacious. Our goal is to pull patients back as quickly as possible," Talbert said.
Another change patients will notice is the entrance to the Emergency Room. Patients will enter from University Boulevard onto Samuel Wells Drive. The new entrance will have valet services for patients who can't park and walk in.
On the inside, 23,000-square-feet of additional space allows all ER services to sit under one roof. ExpressCare, ExpressKids and fast track areas had been located across the parking lot.
Talbert said the changes will help with efficiency and getting patients where they need to be to be treated faster.
"That provides for better care, more efficient care, speedier care more, collaborative care and more comfort for our patients," Talbert said. "It's really a patient-centered experience here at Memorial Hospital where maybe in the past it was a little more scattered."
The pediatric ER has a separate entrance and waiting room with staff trained to treat younger patients. The pediatric rooms are 40 percent larger to accommodate new equipment that allows doctors to treat more serious illnesses like heart conditions and respiratory infections.
ER Medical Director Dr. Frederick Jenkins said new modern technology is all over the ER.
"We have a state of the art pediatric emergency department going in that can take care of all acuity of pediatric patients," Jenkins said. "The benefit on the technology side is tremendous."
The hospital's helipad is also right above the Emergency Room. Patients will enter the hospital and take an elevator right into the ER. It used to be a minute ambulance ride from the helipad to the ER. Doctors said saving one minute is crucial for patients.
"More and more in emergency medicine, the things we take care of are more time dependent. Certainly that's the case in trauma," Jenkins said. "They speak about the golden hour of trauma You have to get the patient taken care of very quickly in order to make a meaningful difference."
The final phase of the project will add parking and a dedicated CT scanner to the emergency department and renovate some of the existing treatment rooms. It's expected to be completed in early 2019.
The renovated ER opens Aug. 1.
Friday morning, hospital leaders, physicians, EMS crews and community leaders will come together for a ribbon cutting and open house.
From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Memorial is hosting an open house for the community to take tours and see the changes.