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St. Luke’s New Emergency Department

Category: Health Stories
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When someone comes into an emergency department, it’s typically not their best day. “Being injured or sick is an anxiety-provoking experience,” said Dr. Amery Robinson, Medical Director of St. Luke’s Emergency Department. “A lot of times, patients don’t know exactly what’s going on with them. They just know they’re sick or in pain.”

That’s why St. Luke’s prioritized comfort and safety when the organization set out to create a brand new Emergency Department (ED). Now, after years of planning and preparation, they are proud to share what they’ve created.

Most notably, the new ED has relocated to St. Luke’s Building A and is nearly three times larger. “The new facility finally matches the compassionate, expert care our medical staff is known for,” said Dr. Robinson. “I’m excited to be able to offer the new space to our community.”

Private rooms for comfort and quiet
For those arriving by car or on foot, the new ED can be accessed from 2nd Street near 10th Avenue East. “You drive into a covered area and park for free just steps away from the ED entrance,” said Dr. Nick Van Deelen, St. Luke’s Chief Medical Officer and emergency physician. “It was important to us that patients be able to access the ED conveniently and quickly.”

Once inside, patients will notice that the reception area is significantly smaller. This is because they will be brought back to one of 27 private exam rooms as soon as possible, reducing the time spent waiting in a public space. “Overhearing other people’s anxiety, pain or suffering on top of your own can just make everything worse,” explained Katie Jo Saletel, RN, St. Luke’s Emergency Department Clinical Supervisor. “The private rooms help to create a quiet, calm atmosphere.”

Each room can be completely closed off with a sound-reducing glass door, and curtains can be drawn for extra privacy. A personal TV in each room also helps patients pass the time as they’re awaiting test results. “Our entire care team will come to you, including registration,” said Dr. Van Deelen. “It’s all about getting people the medical attention they need as quickly and as comfortably as possible.”

Thoughtful design for streamlined, compassionate care
Patients who arrive at the ED by ambulance or helicopter are now able to be transported to a an emergency department stabilization room, surgical suite or Cardiac Catheterization Lab (Cath Lab) in a matter of seconds. “Previously, it took nearly 10 minutes to get from the helipad to the ED,” said Saletel. “In the new ED, patients are able to be inside a stabilization bay, operating room or Cath Lab in under a minute. It means we can get them the life-saving care quicker than ever.”

Also located near the ambulance garage entrance are the mental health suites. “If someone is having a mental health crisis, which is a significant issue for our community, they are brought right to our mental health suite where it is private, secure and safe,” said Dr. Van Deelen. This separate area allows these patients to receive the care they need without putting themselves or anyone else at risk.

Towards the back of the ED two additional rooms have been set aside, one for sexual assault victims and one for when a patient passes. These rooms provide the extra privacy, comfort and respect that these difficult occasions deserve.

In case of emergency, choose St. Luke’s
By bringing all these features together, St. Luke’s has created an innovative space equipped with the latest technology to best care for patients. “This new ED was really all about improving the experience for our patients, especially when it comes to privacy, and I believe we’ve achieved that,” said Dr. Robinson. “We are able to offer our community a calm atmosphere where they can be cared for when dealing with a medical emergency.”

“I love finally being able to share this new ED with our community,” said Dr. Van Deelen. “My own family has had to use the services of the emergency department, so I know how important it is to have a calming, soothing experience. I know that the new ED better allows us to offer that better than we ever have been able to before.”

To learn more about St. Luke’s new ED, visit slhduluth.com/emergency.

This article was published in the 2020 November-December issue of the Woman Today. 

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