Foundation sets sights on ER renovation
Safety, privacy, comfort project’s key components
By John Faucher
The ThedaCare Foundation continues gaining momentum in raising $560,000 needed for an expansion of the Emergency Room at ThedaCare Medical Center –New London.
The campaign launched in September of last year, focuses on renovating the existing ER department to meet the growing needs of the community.
“When the Foundation began planning our next capital project, we listened to patients, community members, hospital staff and leaders, and developed a plan to better meet today’s needs,” said Heather Stern, executive director of the ThedaCare Foundation-New London.
“Over 9,000 patients come through the ER every year. And that number continues to increase. The 9,000 is not just patients from New London, the ER serves all of our surrounding communities,” Stern said .
She added, “We really feel the care we give here is great, our doctors are top notch. But there were some basic needs we felt that needed to help shape that front end experience. It’s just one of those projects to meet our goal of ensuring that the entire patient experience is the best it can be.”
The current ER department has not seen any major updates in over a decade.
“The ER is the only place in the area providing care 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Stern. “The most important points this campaign really hits on for patients and families are safety, privacy, comfort and convenience.”
The renovation plans call for a 1,065 square-foot addition to create a distinct reception area along with three triage/registration rooms to increase patient privacy. The design change will also allow patients to receive immediate treatment as needed, and make it easier for hospital staff to get to patients faster.
“Waiting in the emergency room can be difficult for any family,” said Stern. “Together these changes will create a more welcoming environment where patients and their loved ones can receive the best possible healthcare at a stressful time in their life.”
Plans also call for creating a new family counseling area for staff and families to meet.
“This will provide physicians and family members a setting to discuss sensitive matters in private,” said Stern.
The plans also include making the waiting room space more comfortable, and moving the public restrooms into the waiting area. Current restrooms are located down a hallway, away from the waiting room.
Moving them will not only make them more accessible, it will improve safety for patients and staff at the hospital.
Both staff at the hospital, and community members are excited for the project to begin, said Stern.
Fundraising began last September, and Stern said momentum is gaining towards the $560,000 goal.
“The Foundation made an initial gift last September, and from there we moved into what we called the family phase, where we had 100 percent participation from the board and hospital leadership,” said Stern. The third phase received support from the employees, and currently the foundation is bringing the campaign to the community.
“We’re just about half way,” said Stern. “Seventy-five percent of the funding needs to be raised before we can move forward and start the project.”
“Every dollar raised in this campaign stays within the community and goes directly towards this project,” said Stern.
The proceeds from the Foundation’s annual dinner on Sept. 22 at Crystal Falls Banquet Hall will also go towards the ER project.
Over the past 10 years the ThedaCare Foundation – New London helped build the Hospital Chapel, Birth Center, Chemo Suite and Outpatient Treatment Center.
For more information or to contribute to the ER campaign, contact ThedaCare Foundation-New London at 920-531-2066.