New ER to Open at North Hawai‘i Community Hospital

January 11, 2020, 1:00 PM HST (Updated January 11, 2020, 3:07 PM)
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A newly constructed emergency room at Queen’s North Hawai‘i Community Hospital Waimea will open for its first patients at the end of the month.

The new ER is 15 years in the making, drawing on support from the community, which helped raise $18 million for the $25 million project.

“Patients and staff all gave,”said Kim Bastien, emergency room nurse manager. “It’s pretty incredible to raise that kind of money and have it contributed to the building.”

The ER is now triple its original size, from 3,300 square feet to over 12,000 square feet. NHCH spokeswoman Lynn Scully said the hospital outgrew its ER space many years ago.

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Waimea’s ER sees about 1,000 patients a month. Scully said the old department often exceeded standard of the number of patients received to the number of beds available.

The old ER had six beds with three in the hallway. The new facility will house 13 private patient rooms —11 standard and two for trauma.

“It’s a completely new building that is attached to the hospital,” Scully said. “Building from the ground up, you end up with such a better facility.”

The ER houses new technology and equipment. Scully said a modern communication system was installed and all patient rooms have TVs. The ER has its own portable X-ray machine so staff don’t have to go to the hospital’s imaging department. There is a centralized nurses’ station, new ambulance, patient entrances and spacious new waiting room.

Staff is currently being trained for the new facility and preparing for an open house on Jan. 25 at 10:30 a.m., located at 67-1125 Māmalahoa Highway. The open house will feature tours and equipment demonstrations.

“I think from staff and organization stand point we’re able to provide more services,” Bastien said. “I think the most meaningful thing is we’re meeting the communities needs.”

Bastien added they showcase their community and paniolo heritage with the art and design of the new building.

The hospital’s old ER has been turned into a “behind-the-scenes” space with offices, lockers and meeting rooms. The ER is the largest construction project since the hospital was built in 1996.

The new emergency room will be open for its first patients on Jan. 29.

COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE TO CELEBRATE NEW ER!A brand new emergency room, three times the size of the current ER and loaded…

Posted by North Hawaii Community Hospital on Thursday, January 9, 2020

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat. Tiffany is an award-winning journalist, receiving recognition from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. Tiffany grew up on the Big Island and is passionate about telling the community’s stories.

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