CLEVELAND — With wide hallways, lots of room for patients and staff, and markedly brighter lighting, Fairview Hospital’s new $83 million emergency department and intensive care unit stands in stark contrast to the hospital’s older, cramped facilities.
The two-story, 155,000-square-foot expansion offers a dramatic change to the appearance of the 504-bed hospital, which is part of the Cleveland Clinic system.
Rising from what was a former physician parking lot in front of the hospital on Cleveland’s west side in the West Park neighborhood, the new facility hosted several hundred people for a ribbon-cutting Thursday evening.
The new emergency department includes 55 private beds, a separate 16-bed children’s area, and a 38-bed ICU.
Built over a two-year period beginning in March 2011, the expanded emergency department will begin treating patients Thursday, while the new ICU is set to open June 20.
Fairview Hospital has seen a significant number of patients from Lorain County, including those admitted to the hospital through the new emergency department of the Cleveland Clinic Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon, according to Deborah C. Small, Fairview’s vice president of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer.
Among the largest construction-expansion projects in the hospital’s history, the new emergency department is designed to offer faster, more efficient treatment for patients, according to Dr. John Tafuri, Regional Medical Director for the Cleveland Clinic.
“The concept is to get patients in and out quickly,” Tafuri said.
Separate X-ray, CAT scan, lab and EKG facilities will help the emergency department to speed diagnosis and treatment, especially for critically ill patients, Tafuri said.
“We have targets for the amount of time it takes patients to be seen by a doctor or other personnel, with the goal of discharging people within 2½ hours,” Tafuri said.
All three phases of the expansion offer far more spacious and better-outfitted rooms intended to make nurses’ and doctors’ jobs easier.
“We designed rooms based on factors including the input of nurses and doctors,” Tafuri said.
The hospital’s present emergency department has often seen patients in hallways during busy times — a condition expected to be eliminated in the new facility, which should be able to handle up to 100,000 visits a year, according to Jan Murphy, Fairview’s president.
Last remodeled in the 1990s, the emergency department registered about 76,000 visits in 2012.
Tafuri said he could not cite specific reasons for the hospital’s marked increase in emergency department visits in recent years, but acknowledged factors could include closings of other hospitals such as Cleveland’s Deaconess Hospital.
Trauma rooms within 50 to 75 feet of new ambulance entrances will allow quick access for the sickest of patients.
“These could be people experiencing a heart attack or severe trauma (from a serous accident),” Tafuri said.
People who may be affected by biohazard spills or related accidents now will be able to be seen and decontamined in sealed rooms.
Doctors, nurses and other personnel can be summoned immediately from other parts of the emergency department or other parts of the hospital via a new system of voice-activated badges.
Another feature designed to help relax patients while promoting healing is a special lighting system that mimics nature.
“Lights begin to dim at 4 p.m. each day,” Tafuri said.
Get a first look
The public can get its first look at the new facilities during a 1 to 4 p.m. open house Saturday. Fairview Hospital is at 18101 Lorain Ave., in Cleveland.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.