Health Cover Stories

A New ER

No one wants to make a trip to the emergency room, but sudden illnesses and injuries are facts of life. SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital is doing what it can to relieve some of the stress related to ER visits. The hospital is undergoing a $15 million expansion to optimize treatment and improve the experience for patients, families and staff. “Our purpose is to offer exceptional, compassionate care that meets people’s needs, whatever they may be,” says president Travis Capers.

The hospital recently finished its third phase of the expansion, cutting the ribbon on 9,000 square feet of additional space. This includes 11 treatment rooms, two large trauma-resuscitation rooms, two nursing stations and a new lounge for emergency medical services. The space was designed with input from staff to ensure it improves the patient experience and increases efficiency. “Doctors and nurses wanted better visibility from the nursing stations,” Capers says. “They also requested a quiet room where patients and their families could have private conversations.” Storage was added to make equipment and supplies easily accessible from anywhere in the ER.

Along with more space within the hospital, the expansion includes a new ambulance entrance and canopy with two additional parking spaces. “It will enable patients on stretchers to transition more smoothly into the hospital,” Capers says. Another unique feature is a built-in scale, so patients can be weighed without having to be removed from stretchers. Paramedics can gather the information for doctors, who can use it to quickly create necessary treatment plans.

The new addition also includes an eight-room behavioral health observation unit that will open next month. “It’s close to the waiting room, so patients seeking behavioral care can be taken to a room quickly,” Capers explains. “That’s important for their safety and that of others, and it will allow us to provide the best possible care.” He adds that this new unit is one example of how St. Mary’s focuses on patients’ specific needs to improve outcomes for everyone. Rather than managing all patients in a single space, the new ER will have distinct treatment areas where different needs can be met more efficiently.

As part of this mission, the emergency room is in the process of being remodeled into a new quick ER. The 10-room space will be used to treat patients dealing with less serious illnesses and injuries faster so they can return home sooner. “With these different quadrants of care, people can more easily get where they need to be and receive the treatment that is best for them,” he says. “It also allows our employees to do their jobs more effectively.”

All seven phases of the expansion are expected to be completed next summer, and the project will increase the total number of treatment spaces in the ER from 38 to 50. Capers notes that while the new spaces and resources are exciting additions to St. Mary’s, they are not what set the hospital apart. “It’s not about the brick and mortar, but the people who work here,” he says. “Our employees provide the best possible care for patients, and I’m happy that we can provide the tools they need, including this new emergency room.”

SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital is undergoing a $15 million project to expand its emergency room. Pictured on the cover: Emergency services team leader Laura Weaver, emergency services nursing director Mary McBride, hospital president Travis Capers. For more information, call 314.768.8000 or visit ssmhealth.com/stmarys

Cover design by Julie Streiler | Cover photo by Tim Parker Photography

Pictured at top: The hospital is undergoing a $15 million expansion of its ER. 
Photo courtesy of SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital 

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A New ER
Article Name
A New ER
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SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital is doing what it can to relieve some of the stress related to ER visits. The hospital is undergoing a $15 million expansion to optimize treatment and improve the experience for patients, families and staff.
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