Christiana Care Health System’s first stand-alone Emergency Department is open and providing patients in southern New Castle County accessible, quality care for emergencies.
The $34-million, 36,500-square-foot facility off Del. Route 299 near Brick Mill Road opened on April 16 and provides emergency medical services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The opening of the Middletown Emergency Department is a milestone for Christiana Care and our neighbors in the Middletown, Odessa and Townsend area,” said Robert Laskowski, M.D., president and CEO of Christiana Care in remarks at an April 15 ribbon cutting ceremony. “This facility is an example of The Christiana Care Way — how we use innovation and creativity to provide care that our neighbors truly value. The residents of this growing area no longer have to leave their community to receive high-quality emergency services.”
Christiana Care expects to treat about 1,250 patients a month at the two-story Emergency Department, including walk-in patients and those brought by ambulance. The center focuses on serious, but not life-threatening emergencies.
“With a population of growing young families and retired people, we expect to see everything from sprained ankles to bad colds to appendicitis, strokes and heart failure,” said Charles L. Reese IV, M.D., chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Christiana Care.
The ED is a unique model, designed using LEAN principles originally developed in manufacturing to create value for the customer. During the planning process, the staff traveled to similar facilities in Virginia and Washington to observe their practices. The goal is to treat patients as efficiently as possible.
“Our target is eliminating waste and enhancing value,” said Heather Farley, M.D., medical director of the Middletown ED. “For example, there are two computers in each room so a nurse and doctor can work simultaneously. Patients who don’t need to be in a room can wait for test results in a comfortable area, where there are recliners, a fireplace and a window with an outside view.”
The ED includes a six-room super-track area, located immediately inside the front door, where staff can treat patients suffering with minor emergencies.
The main treatment area encompasses a central nursing station and 13 individual patient rooms outfitted with the same medical equipment as a hospital emergency room. An additional eight rooms will serve as observation units in the future where staff monitors patients before they are well enough to return home or are transferred to a hospital.
The ED also includes administrative offices, a decontamination room, a laboratory, imaging suites and a conference room. The 108-acre campus has a helicopter pad to accommodate patients who need to be air-lifted to the Level 1 trauma center at Christiana Hospital or other facilities.
Kara Streets, the ED’s nurse manager, has lived in Middletown for 19 years. She says people in the community are excited because they can receive high quality care for most emergencies without making the 40-mile round trip to Christiana Hospital.
“A couple of months ago, my son broke his ankle,” she says. “If that happened today, he would be treated here.”
Mayor Kenneth Branner Jr. said that Middletown logs more than 2,000 ambulance trips a year.
“This is a great day for our town, which continues to grow,” he says. “We could not ask for a better neighbor than Christiana Care.”
The center employs 90 people, including doctors board-certified in emergency medicine.
“Because the physicians and nurses all have worked within Christiana Care’s emergency departments, patients will benefit from their vast experience treating highly acute as well as less urgent illnesses and injuries,” said Linda Laskowski-Jones, RN, vice president, Emergency Services and Trauma. “The quality of the staff is top notch.”