Lutheran to expand and renovate ER to improve efficiency and experience

Nearly $20 million invested by LHN regionwide
for emergency department upgrades since 2015

Fort Wayne, Ind. (Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017) – The initial phase of a significant expansion and renovation of the emergency department at Lutheran Hospital is set to begin early this spring. The goal of the project is to generate improved efficiencies for staff and a better overall experience for patients.

Much of the work will focus on the creation of an eight-bed, 3,900-square-foot transition unit located adjacent to the existing 16,600-square-foot adult ER. The new area will allow for short-term patient monitoring while freeing valuable exam rooms when the ER is busiest.  

Other key elements of the $6.1 million project include the addition of a new CT scanner in the ER for immediate access to the latest diagnostic technology; a fifth trauma bay to accommodate multiple critical patients simultaneously and four rooms designated as a results waiting area to quickly treat and release patients.

“The ER is the first experience many people have with a hospital and it is Lutheran’s goal to make that initial experience pleasant and seamless,” said Brian Bauer, CEO, Lutheran Health Network. “We constantly look for ways to streamline our process in the ER so patients quickly receive quality care.”

Work on Lutheran’s ER will be comprised of five phases, which will enable it to remain fully operational throughout the project. Phase I will begin in April. All work is expected to be completed by October 2018.

Phase I will incorporate updates to part of the third floor of Medical Office Building Two on the Lutheran Hospital campus to enable the relocation of existing offices on the hospital’s main level to make room for the transition unit. Next, the transition unit will be constructed as well as new locker rooms for ER staff.

Phase II will focus on creating the CT room and its adjoining trauma bay. Subsequent phases will involve renovating different sections of ER treatment rooms and work stations, including results waiting rooms.

When completed, the existing ER will have a total of 28 treatment rooms, a fifth trauma room and more workstations. The entire space will have new flooring, paint, hardware, curtains, furniture and equipment. Including the new eight-bed transition unit, the entire adult emergency department will grow to 36 beds and 20,500-square-feet.

“Adding the transition unit gives certain patients a dedicated area to stay as we work to determine their best course of treatment,” said Scott Weiskittel, COO, Lutheran Hospital. “Some patients also need a little more time before they can confidently return home, which is equally reassuring to medical staff.”

At times, patients in the ER require additional testing. The transition unit will enable those individuals to be in a less hectic environment as they await further evaluation, diagnostic testing, admission to the hospital or discharge.

“It’s exciting for us to renovate our space to meet the growing needs of the community,” said Angela Double, RN, emergency department and chest pain center director, Lutheran Hospital. “My staff is thrilled to have a CT scanner right next to our primary trauma bay—this will allow for quicker diagnosis and treatment for patients.”

Waiting areas for the adult and pediatric emergency departments will remain as is since both were updated during the construction of the Lutheran Children’s Hospital ER in 2013.

Occurring at the same time as the ER project will be the relocation of Lutheran’s transfer center from the first floor of the hospital to the second. Dispatch of Lutheran’s critical care transport fleet and patient bed availability throughout the hospital are managed through the transfer center.

This is the latest in a series of Lutheran Health Network projects designed to support operational efficiencies to reduce wait times and improve the experience for emergency patients. Other recent projects include an ER expansion at Dukes Memorial Hospital in Peru, which was completed in December, and the opening of Lutheran ER Statewood – Fort Wayne’s first freestanding ER – in October. Combined, these LHN ER projects account for a capital investment of nearly $20 million over the past year and a half.

In 2016, LHN emergency departments regionwide received more than 137,000 patient visits. More than 96,000 ER visits occurred at Dupont, Lutheran and St. Joseph hospitals.

MSKTD & Associates is handling the design and architecture work for Lutheran’s ER project and Weigand Construction is the general contractor.



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