EATON — Starting at 7 a.m. on Aug. 24, Kettering’s newest emergency center will open to the public, providing residents of Preble County with 24-hour access to healthcare for the first time in the area’s history.
“We will be equipped to initiate treatment on any issue that walks through the front door,” said Dawn Sweet, the clinical nurse manager of the center. “We aren’t able to manage them long term or overnight, but at least get initiated treatment, stabilize them and transfer them if needed.”
The emergency center is not set up to hold patients overnight and those needing surgery or hospitalization will be transferred to another hospital.
On Thursday, July 30, Kettering opened up the doors of their $13 million dollar facility for members of the media and local business leaders to get a tour of the building.
“We’ve enjoyed a long partnership with the community and I know this was in the works for a number of years,” said Elizbeth Long, the manager of media and public relations for Kettering. “It’s just a way to provide needed services to the community. There was definitely a need for emergency services here in the county.”
The emergency department will be equipped with 12 exam rooms, 13 full and part-time nurses, five resource nurses, three paramedics, and will provide one physician staffed around the clock.
“That’s what we are starting with. I’m expecting the census to be much higher than it’s been predicted, quite honestly. As census grows, our staff volume will grow as well,” said Sweet.
Also depending on the census, the emergency center will add a mid-level provider such as a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant.
The department will be trialing electronic communication boards in their exam rooms – the first building in the Kettering network to do so.
Most patient rooms come with a dry erase board, but Eaton’s facility will come with a computer screen that is connected to the hospital’s documentation systems. Early in the process, the screen will display the physician’s name and the assigned nurse, but that information is expected to increase.
“We are looking into what other information can slide over. It may be that when the doctor orders a CAT scan, it shows that it has been ordered and that you went and shows the results are back and it’s being evaluated,” said Sweet. “That way there is more communication for the patient and they know what’s going on.”
Included in the 12 exam rooms, one will be dedicated as a behavioral health room that allows them to treat mental health patients or aggressive patients. The room is safe-guarded for the patient’s and the staff’s safety.
It also has a decontamination room, where someone who is covered in dangerous chemicals or with a highly contagious condition can enter, shower, disrobe, and get placed directly into an isolation room next door.
There are dedicated rooms with a CAT scan machine, X-ray, ultrasounds, and blood work. These services were previously offered by the Preble County Medical Center, but have moved to an area between both facilities, and accessible from both locations.
The medical center has partnered with the emergency center for outpatient services as well.
The new building has a helipad and can receive Med Flight and Care Flight patients, but currently does not have its own emergency helicopter.
So far, the department has created at least 58 new jobs, including 43 that are full or part-time. They will also have 24-hour security provided to the building from Kettering’s own private police department.
Early predictions estimate the center to see around 22 patients per day. Sweet expects that number to double or even triple in three months. The staff’s goal is to have the average patient stay to be two and a half hours or less.
There will be a ribbon cutting on Aug. 11 at 2:30 p.m. with a community open house on Aug. 23 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Jeremy Erskine may be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH