Methodist Hospital unveils expanded emergency department

The hospital says the new space will better serve patients and staff.
Methodist Hospital has expanded its emergency department, and 6 News was there to look inside.
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 5:00 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Domestic violence is a problem that’s moved out of the shadows, and every community now talks about and deals with the issue.

The Methodist Hospital Emergency Department has been dealing with the issue for years. The expansion of their department gives victims more privacy and rooms for counseling.

“We are able to provide care to numerous patients of sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, and strangulation,” said Chelsea Craig with Methodist Women’s Hospital’s ER. “In fact, last year we saw over 300 patients.”

Methodist doctors tell 6 News the number of people making their way to their emergency room for care has increased over the last five years.

“Access to other healthcare options is challenging for a lot of people,” said Dr. Joseph McCaslin, medical director at Methodist Hospital’s ER. “The primary care offices are full, and sometimes they will refer their patients to us, but a lot of times people know we are open and we will see them, and so they decide to come here.”

Methodist Hospital unveiled its expanded emergency department Thursday.

The hospital’s expanded emergency department has rooms specially designed for patients with special medical needs. Methodist also has special rooms for patients experiencing a mental health crisis.

“We have two rooms just like this, and almost every day, for sure, there’s at least one person, and a lot of times we have two,” Dr. McCaslin said. “It’s a regular everyday problem in this community.”

The rooms are designed to keep the patient and staff safe by walling off the medical equipment in the room, and raising the wall when it’s safe to use the medical equipment. Methodist is doing what they can to help with a growing problem in our community.

“The resources are limited in what we can do and where these patients can go,” Craig said. “We don’t have an inpatient psychiatric ward here at Methodist, so we have to stabilize them here the best we can and then find somewhere for them to go. The places are usually very full and busy, and so sometimes they’re here for hours, if not days.”

The expansion here allows staff to help more people -- doubling the number of patient rooms from 12 to 24. The size of the emergency department grew from 11,500 to 22,000 square-feet. There’s also more room for staff to work and help those in need.

“A great morale booster for everybody that has to work here,” Dr. McCaslin said. “We were sharing spaces, the breakroom was small and tight when you finally did get a chance to go eat. Now you just have a beautiful space, everybody is more comfortable.”

Caregivers at Methodist continued to care for patients that came to their emergency room while construction was underway. The hospital’s expanded emergency department will begin helping patients early next month.