2018-07-05 / Around Town

Expansion of Emergency Department Underway


This rendering depicts a conceptual layout for the waiting area and greeting desk planned for the new expanded emergency rapid treatment core area at Newport Hospital. (Rendering by e4h Environments for Health Architecture) This rendering depicts a conceptual layout for the waiting area and greeting desk planned for the new expanded emergency rapid treatment core area at Newport Hospital. (Rendering by e4h Environments for Health Architecture) Newport Hospital recently launched a campaign to expand its emergency department with a $3 million gift from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and a $1.5 million challenge grant from the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust. The trust will match every donation to the project up to $1.5 million.

To date, the hospital has raised $10 million through gifts from individuals and other organizations. Future fundraising efforts will include a broad outreach to community members throughout Newport County.

The expansion is expected to increase the number of treatment and exam rooms from 17 to 29, and it will include a new behavioral health section and a four-bed observation unit.

“It’s time that the expertise and compassion our caregivers provide are complemented by a healing environment that is spacious, modern and comfortable for patients and families,” said Crista Durand, president of Newport Hospital. “We are thrilled that the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and The Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust are so committed to helping Newport Hospital provide the very best in care when our patients need us the most.”

The physical transformation will include a four-bed behavioral health unit, providing patients more privacy and dignity. Visits by patients with addiction and/ or mental health issues have increased by 17 percent during the last three years and now represent eight percent of all emergency room visits.

A “clinical decision unit” will also be added. The four rooms will be for patients who need extended emergency department treatment and observation but may not require admission as an inpatient.

Other highlights include three triage spaces for arriving patients, an area for patients and their family members waiting for tests results, and workstations in each treatment space to facilitate bedside registration and documentation.

Construction is expected to begin in July and be completed by September 2019.

“Our mission is to invest in the quality of life and quality of place of Aquidneck Island and surrounding communities,” said Hope H. van Beuren, founder of her family’s foundation. “The hospital is most important for the betterment of the community and the foundation recognizes that the emergency department must be expanded to address Aquidneck Island’s growing health care needs.”

Donald Christ, chair of The Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust, echoed those feelings. “It is our pleasure to once again partner with Newport Hospital on a project so critical to the families of Aquidneck Island,” he said. “We hope our challenge grant will engage community members in a campaign that truly is near and dear to everyone on the island.”

The last significant renovation to the emergency department was made 20 years ago. At the time, the space could accommodate 22,000 patient visits annually. Today, the emergency department is 30 percent over capacity, managing 33,000 patient visits per year. The island’s aging population and significant growth in tourism during the summer, at a time when patient volume swells by 40 percent, has significantly stretched resources.

“Strain on health care access, seasonal or not, is not sustainable,” Durand said.

She said that the renovated emergency department will factor in future growth and could accommodate as many as 40,000 visits annually.

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