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St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake Emergency Room Expansion Enters New Phase



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Joshua Cowan, St. Helena Hospital


Phone: 967-7515 Email:

St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake Emergency Room Expansion Enters New Phase

May 1, 2012, Clearlake, CA. St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake’s project to expand and update its busy emergency room has entered a new phase. Construction on 4,100 square feet of additional space, including new state-of-the-art patient monitoring rooms and improved entrances and waiting room, began in October 2011. Now, renovation of the original space is set to begin with demolition of the previous cramped quarters.

"This is an exciting milestone for the emergency department," says Claudia Helmes, RN, Emergency Department Director. "Over the next months, we will transform the working areas of the ED – the triage area, nurse’s station, entries and waiting room – to provide the most rapid-access, top-quality emergency care for our community."

During this phase of the $12.1M project, expected to be completed in December 2012, the department will remain open and provide full emergency services. Careful planning, effective communication, and a phased construction design will allow the department to make use of space in and near the ED to provide seamless service. A new triage area, where incoming patients’ conditions are initially evaluated, has been set up in a conference room, with nearby waiting areas. Coordination with other departments will also take full advantage of all available beds. "Our emergency team has demonstrated great skill and creativity over the years to make the most of the original 1960s layout," Helmes adds. "Now, they’ve turned that creativity and skill toward providing efficient care in a changing environment. Everyone throughout the hospital, from doctors and nurses to housekeeping staff, have had a hand in producing ideas and innovations for this phase of construction. It’s been an amazing process."

To create a seamless patient experience during construction, several new services have also been added. Additional triage staff will assure patients get the fastest access to the right care, and a patient navigator will be on hand to assist patients and families with practical issues such as parking and follow-up appointments, and walk them through the process to reduce stress and anxiety. When triage determines that a patient’s care needs can be better met at a non-emergency facility, a shuttle service will provide transport to local clinics, and the Family Health Clinic has extended its hours to 7:00 pm.

Built in 1968 to meet the needs of the county’s 19,000 residents, St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake now serves a community of over 65,000. According to David Santos, Vice President of Operation of St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake, the renovation benefits both patients and staff. "The walls coming down was a breakthrough in our construction project," he says. "Our new ER will enhance our ability to provide quality care and an excellent patient experience." The new configuration, with twelve state-of-the-art patient monitoring rooms including two trauma beds, will allow doctors and nurses to concentrate on patient care rather than improvising around cramped quarters, and will provide better access to critical technology and a more comforting, healing environment for patients.

Adventist Health, St. Helena Hospital’s parent organization, provided the first $9M for the project, with the remainder of funding coming from within the community. A slide show of construction progress can be viewed at 


About St. Helena Hospital:


is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system with nearly 20,000 employees serving communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Founded on the health values of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 18 acute care hospitals, more than 135 clinics (rural health and physician clinics), 14 home care agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. We invite you to visit for more information.