New Emergency Departments at the Johns Hopkins Hospital: Spacious, Private, High-Tech
For the thousands of sick and injured patients expected to need care each month at The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s new adult and pediatric emergency rooms — set to open at 7 a.m. April 29 in the Sheikh Zayed Tower and The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center on Orleans Street — the experience promises to be nothing like that of previous generations, hospital officials say.
Instead of hard-to-find entry ways, their highly visible locations adjacent to the new main hospital and children’s hospital entrance on Orleans Street will be easy to find and navigate for patients, visitors, taxi drivers and caregivers, according to Emergency Department leaders.
The new facilities, which included experienced emergency doctors and families in the design process, also can be reached via two new, enclosed, security-protected footbridges that connect the Zayed Tower and Bloomberg Children’s Center to a public parking garage on Orleans Street. Motorists will find a large drop-off area right by the entrance, where they can use valet service or pull up in front of the new building's lobby and admitting areas. Patients can enter the new ERs through these locations as well.
“The new Emergency Departments have been designed and will be operated so that patients and their families find a welcoming, comfortable environment, and our physicians, nurses and other health care providers can do what they do best, with everything close at hand,” says James Scheulen, chief administrative officer for the Department of Emergency Medicine.
Gabor Kelen, M.D., director and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, notes the new emergency entrances are located at the front of the new $1.1 billion facilities. That’s more than symbolic, it’s appropriate, says Kelen, noting that a significant percentage of all inpatients at JHH are admitted through the emergency departments.
For example, Emergency Department figures show that last year 34 percent of all adult in-patient beds at the hospital were filled by patients first seen in the emergency room, then admitted to a clinical unit for follow-up treatment or moved to an operating room for surgery and then admitted. More than 50 percent of pediatric patients are admitted through the children’s ED.
The new Emergency Department serving adults is spacious — at 35,000 square feet it is three times the size of the current ER. Patient and family privacy has also been accounted for with 67 private rooms, new family lounge area, and private consultation rooms. The new Pediatric ER is double the size of the current location and has 32 private exam rooms along with other patient and family amenities to improve comfort. It also features a more child-friendly environment, including a two-story colorful sculpture of a mother rhino and baby at its entrance.
“The children’s ED has a welcoming, modern, child-centered design, with state-of-the-art technology that facilitates best practices by our physicians and nurses, who are specially trained in pediatric emergency medicine,” says M. Douglas Baker, M.D., director of Pediatric Emergency Services. “We also have access to a full array of pediatric specialists 24/7.”
Patients and those who accompany them to the new EDs will also find an expanded radiology suite, outfitted with not only X-ray and CT scanning equipment, but also MRI and ultrasound.
Incorporating MRI and ultrasound diagnostics into the suite, shared between the two emergency departments, will reduce the need to transport patients to other units for critical diagnostic tests, speed test turnaround time and results, and hasten the start of treatment and/or admission, says Peter Hill, M.D., clinical director of the Emergency Department.
For ED physicians, nurses and other medical staff, a new, 17-bed Emergency Acute Care Unit, or EACU, used to monitor very ill adult patients, is conveniently located adjacent to the EDs, rather than in a building separated from them as is the case with the current emergency suites set to close on Monument Street.
The adjacent location of the EACU and Emergency Department improves physician consultations and quick movement of emergency doctors, nurses and others between units and patients.
In addition to a modern new EACU, the new co-located emergency department units feature six trauma rooms equipped with the latest critical care technology. Four of the rooms are designated for adults and two for children, but the rooms have been designed so they are clinically “flexible” and able to accommodate adults or children, depending on the need.
Also new is a self-contained psychiatric emergency area, with double the number of rooms previously available for patients: eight, up from the current four.
Once triaged, patients will go to one of 99 large, private, comfortable exam and observation rooms, many with private toilet facilities, and all featuring ample space for family members and other loved ones as well as physicians and nurses, says Hill.
Privacy will have advantages for everyone, Kelen says, notably for increasing the opportunity for sensitive and highly personal conversations, patient dignity and comfort, and the use of a care model that involves patients and their families in decisions about treatment.
The new Emergency Department for adults will replace a now outdated facility, located off Monument Street, which has served Baltimore for more than 17 years. The Edwards Park Building housing the current pediatric ED opened in 1974, one year after Johns Hopkins Children’s Center became the first designated critical care trauma center for pediatrics in the nation. It remains Maryland’s designated trauma center for critically injured children.
Doors to both, as well as their ambulance entrances, will close on the same date and time the new ERs open: April 29 at 7 a.m.
The new ambulance entrance opening that day will serve both adult and child patients. Located off Wolfe Street, between Monument Street and Orleans Street, the new ambulance area is spacious and fully covered. It features room for 28 ambulances, charging stations so crews can power up their equipment, and perhaps most important of all an entrance reserved for paramedic crews and their patients to ensure privacy and rapid access to doctors and other emergency staff.