Community will be able to tour hospital’s new Pratt Emergency Center

Beaufort Memorial Hospital is offering the public a sneak peek of its new $14.5-million Pratt Emergency Center from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, during a pre-opening community event.

Visitors will be invited to take self-guided tours of the 20,500-square-foot facility, scheduled to open in January and built to meet the increasing demand for emergency medical services in the greater Beaufort area.

The new ER is more than double the size of the former emergency department and features expanded reception and triage areas, 24 private treatment rooms, two trauma rooms and a special waiting area for patients with minor ailments and injuries.

“The design of the new ER puts patients first,” said Emergency Department Director Kevin Kremer.

All 24 treatment rooms are private. The former quarters featured only seven private rooms. Designed with the healing arts in mind, the rooms feature soothing LED lighting and linen closets that can be resupplied from outside the room to minimize the disturbance to patients.

Large, glass retractable doors provide easier access in and out of the rooms and allow the medical staff to closely monitor patients from centrally located work stations capable of accommodating up to 10 nurses and four physicians.

In addition to the private treatment rooms, the new ER includes a special waiting area with comfortable seating for nine patients not requiring a bed. Another five individual waiting areas have been provided for parents with young children or anyone else requiring extra space and privacy.

“Patients waiting for test results or prescriptions will have a comfortable place to sit,” Kremer said. “And they won’t be taking up a bed that could be used by someone who really needs it.”

The new ER also features decontamination areas — outdoor space for patients exposed to non-toxic materials, an enclosed room for patients exposed to toxins, three detox rooms and two isolation rooms for patients with communicable diseases like tuberculosis, chicken pox or measles.

Beaufort Memorial’s emergency room visits currently total nearly 40,000 annually and are expected to increase. With the expansion, the hospital will boost capacity from 24 to up to 45 patients.

As part of the renovation, major upgrades were made to the hospital’s infrastructure, including increasing the capacity of the cooling system, which is vital to the operation of the sophisticated medical equipment and technology being used in today’s ER.

In addition, three new Caterpillar 800KW generator sets also have been installed in a new power house, allowing the hospital to be 100 percent self-sufficient in the event of external power loss.

A $1.5 million donation made by Beaufort philanthropist Dr. Bruce Pratt in honor of his parents provided the start-up money to launch the ambitious project. Last year, the hospital renamed the ER the George N. Pratt and Sarah Meyer Pratt Emergency Center. Dr. George Pratt was among the first physicians to practice at the hospital in the mid-1900s.

A private family consultation room, which will be used to discuss sensitive information and go over referral and homecare instructions with patients, will be dedicated to BMH employees who have contributed nearly $1 million in additional funding toward the completion of the center.

Guests attending the open house are encouraged to park near the Beaufort Medical Plaza or in the lot located at the hospital’s annex entrance at Allison and Ribaut roads. Light refreshments will be served and guests will receive a complimentary commemorative gift.

To learn more about the new Pratt Emergency Center, visit www.bmhsc.org.

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