BERLIN, Wis. – To ensure access to increasing demand for emergency care, ThedaCare is celebrating the completion of the new Emergency Department (ED) at ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin. Team members will begin caring for patients next week in the nearly 9,000 sq ft ED space.
“Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of our communities by empowering each person to live their unique best life,” said Imran A. Andrabi, MD, President and CEO of ThedaCare. “Investing in a new emergency department will allow our team members to provide the services people in the Berlin area need, ensuring patients and families have the best care possible, now and in the future.”
Understanding Individual Needs of the Community
ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin is an accredited Critical Access Hospital by The Joint Commission, earning a Gold Seal of Approval® by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. Rural is defined as a geographic area with low population size and density. It can be a town, a small city or a township.
“We know those needs are different for people living in rural areas,” said Tammy Bending, Vice President of ThedaCare Medical Centers-Berlin and Wild Rose. “Every day, we strive to understand each person’s unique medical background, lifestyle and personal goals, getting patients back to living their best life, sooner. This is about putting our patients and families first.”
The need for emergency services in rural markets is significant. A study in the Journal of American Medical Association demonstrates rural EDs have experienced more than a 50% increase in patient visits during last 10 years, despite a 5% decline in the overall US rural population.
“The Emergency Department update is a highlight of ThedaCare’s commitment to delivering high quality care throughout our service area, and ensuring access to that care for Wisconsinites living in rural communities,” said Mark Thompson, Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer. “Through our personalized approach to coordinated care, we deliver the level of expertise that patients here in Wisconsin deserve, helping them make informed decisions about their care.”
Designed for Coordinated Care
The ED at ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin will feature the newest technology and equipment. The architectural design aimed to reduce cost, improve capacity, provide sustained operational efficiency and ultimately focus on an exceptional patient experience. Total cost is estimated to be $8.5M.
“Physicians, clinicians and staff played a role in the design process, helping architects understand the needs of patients,” explained Bending. “Our goal was to create a modern facility that was designed around patients and families, developing a comfortable, soothing environment for healing.”
Bending noted the layout for the space is centered on the patient. The health care team’s workstation is located in the center of the area, with treatment rooms on the perimeter, giving teams a direct line of sight into each room, which improves patient safety and quality of care.
The number of treatment rooms increased from seven to ten, and the size of the rooms expanded.
“Larger rooms will allow patients to have family members with them, while still allowing for plenty of space for team members to provide treatment,” Bending explained. “The size of the trauma room increased as well. We also added a room with a bariatric lift to aid care providers in transferring disabled patients or those who have difficulty standing.”
Through the commitment to understanding the unique needs of the communities served, leaders recognized the increasing demand for behavioral health support in the Emergency Department, specifically in rural areas. To address this, the new space includes designated rooms for behavioral health services, keeping the safety of patients and team members top of mind.
“We know rural hospitals are unique, and must address the specific issues of our small cities and towns,” said Bending. “Our team members ensure that we deliver the best care for each person, and now they have even more tools and resources to provide that excellent care.”
The design also took into account the potential needs of the agricultural community. The new space has a dedicated decontamination room with a shower. Berlin has many farming and agri-businesses which can lead to chemical contaminations. The specialized room will allow for team members to care for multiple victims if a situation should occur.
To adapt to changes stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the design plan was updated in real-time. Negative pressure rooms, also called isolation rooms, which provides a safe space to care for those with an infectious illnesses, were added to the ED.
During this project milestone, ThedaCare would like to recognize construction partner, The Boldt Company, and architect, design and planning partner, HGA. The teams have worked diligently to provide guidance and support, while creating a space that will allow health teams to provide the best care for patients and families.
Generous Community Support
Enhancements to better the patient experience were funded through generous donors who support the ThedaCare Foundation-Berlin, which is part of the ThedaCare Family of Foundations. The Foundation committed to contributing at least $500,000 to the ED project. In total, the donations totaled more than $900,000 which included a number of fundraising efforts in the community.
“We are forever grateful for the support from our generous donors and the community,” said Bending. “At ThedaCare, we are committed to keeping care local, and this renovation helps us fulfill that commitment to the Berlin area. We are especially thankful for the ThedaCare Foundation-Berlin Board of Directors, as well as the members of the capital campaign cabinet, for their tireless efforts to engage with the community in this amazing fundraising effort.”
Donors to the project will be recognized for their generosity throughout the new space. Many of the rooms will include naming recognition, and a donor wall in the waiting area will prominently highlight all of those who have helped make the new ED possible.
“After journeying through a global pandemic, it’s clear today more than ever, rural communities must address specific issues not all Americans face,” said Dr. Andrabi. “Through projects like the ED update at ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin, we can continue to prepare and respond to the needs of the communities we serve, keeping our patients and families safe and healthy, now and always.”
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in northeast and central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 18 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their best lives through easy access to individualized care, supporting each person’s own health and wellbeing. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand unique needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.
For more information, visit thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.