Lakeland breaks ground on ER

Published 11:45 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Daily Star photo/JESSICA SIEFF Lakeland HealthCare broke ground Wednesday on a project that will double the size of its emergency room. Members of the Lakeland Health Foundation were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony as well as Lakeland CEO and President Loren Hamel and Niles City Administrator Terry Eull.

“There are few experiences that most of us will remember for the rest of our lives,” said Loren B. Hamel, president and CEO of Lakeland HealthCare.
Hamel spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning at Lakeland Community Hospital in Niles. The hospital has already begun construction on renovations to its emergency room, which would double the facility in size.
The project costs approximately $7.4 million and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2012.
“An ER is a place we want to go and we must go when we are sick or injured or — God forbid — when we are dying,” Hamel said.
It’s those experiences that leave an indelible mark on families no matter what the outcome, and that has remained a focus of planning for the new addition, which hospital officials have been wanting to see completed for nearly a decade.
According to Lakeland Administrator Debra Johnson, the emergency room will treat on average between 75 and 80 patients per day and it’s been doing so within an estimated 7,000-square-foot facility.
The new ER will be a total of 16,000-square-feet, with 18 rooms and 21 beds — up from just 11 beds and six patient rooms now.
The rooms are mostly private rooms, equipped with phone and television systems, something Johnson said can be of comfort to patients and their families who wait an average four hours during their ER visit.
“I think that today is a day that we all have been waiting for,” Johnson said during the groundbreaking ceremony.
“It’s old, it’s small, it’s inadequate,” Hamel said in interviews following the ceremony.
Hospitals are seeing increases in patients across the country for various reasons.
“There are a lot of people experiencing overcrowding in hospitals,” Hamel said.
Lakeland chose an architecture firm out of North Carolina that specializes in emergency rooms so they could plan an efficient space.
“We wanted to get an expert so when we did our (ER) we were doing it right,” Johnson said.
The new ER is expected to reduce wait times for patients, increase comfort and enhance collaboration between health care professionals.