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PeaceHealth Southwest’s new emergency department will feature Community Health Hub

The first phase of a redesigned emergency department at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver will open to patients July 16.

PeaceHealth invited community members, caregivers and nurses  to explore the space Friday afternoon with those who oversaw the two-year construction project. The medical center has been treating patients in a temporary emergency room, but now the main entrance will return to 400 Mother Joseph Place.

“Our leadership team has really gained knowledge from our staff on what they need. It’s all been caregiver based with their input,” registered nurse Ashley Hendrickson said.

Community Health Hub

Included in the first phase of the emergency department is a new 24-bed unit for patients who require additional observation, a registration lobby, nurse stations and an ambulance bay. The department also features a triage model, which is designed to reduce patient wait times. In 2023, PeaceHealth’s Vancouver emergency department saw 76,224 patients.

Additionally, a new concept called the Community Health Hub will open in July. The hub is designed to provide patients with additional wrap-around services related to mental illness, addiction, food insecurity and homelessness. Members from 12 community organizations including Lifeline Connections, Share and Council for the Homeless will have designated spaces within the hub to connect patients with various social services.

Liz Cattin, PeaceHealth’s network director of community health, said the Community Health Hub was designed to address the nonclinical needs of the community, which are just as important to health.

“We worked directly with community-based organizations in Clark County to design this space with our partners as the end user in mind. This is a space for patients to connect directly, face-to-face with providers of services that they might need that aren’t clinical,” Cattin said. “We know that face-to-face connection and that warm hand-off makes all the difference in the world for people who want to connect. That’s what’s missing right now.”

Final phase

The final phase of construction will begin soon and is expected to take 18 months, PeaceHealth spokeswoman Debra Carnes said.

When completed in 2025, the entire emergency department will encompass 37,000 square feet, with 56 treatment rooms, 11 transitional rooms, four trauma rooms, 24 observation rooms and eight ambulance ports.

PeaceHealth hired Turner Construction and ZGF Architects for the $140 million project. In January, the hospital received an additional $1 million through a federal grant to support the expansion.

“By intersecting outstanding emergency care with essential social services under one roof, we are empowering health care providers and community partners to treat the whole person — body and spirit,” PeaceHealth said in a news release.

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