"All-hours emergency care at your service." Read Joliet Herald News story about the Edward Plainfield ER.
All-hours emergency care at your service
March 19, 2010
By JANET LUNDQUIST
PLAINFIELD -- Six months ago, Edward Hospital transformed its Plainfield immediate care facility into a 24-hour emergency room that now treats about 60 people a day.
When it first opened, in the midst of the H1N1 season last fall, the emergency room was swamped with sick people.
Doctors treated more than 100 patients a day in September and October, said Kathy Wermes, clinical leader of the Plainfield Emergency Department.
The freestanding emergency room is rare in Illinois. There are only a few other hospitals with licenses to build them, including Silver Cross Hospital, Rush-Copley Medical Center and Lake Forest Hospital.
'On the same page'
The emergency center is a self-supporting branch of Edward's main hospital campus.
The computers are connected to the Naperville campus' network -- doctors in Plainfield can reserve a hospital bed in Naperville if a patient needs to be admitted -- doctors rotate shifts at both facilities, and a lab is available 24 hours a day.
"Anything we need to make a decision is here," said Peter Schubel, Edward's vice chairman of emergency medicine.
An ambulance transport team is on duty 24 hours a day to take patients to the Naperville hospital if they must be admitted.
Schubel said he enjoys how every day is different in the ER, and how the work brings the staff together.
"There's a strong sense of team. In an emergency, everybody's got to be on the same page," he said. "There's a strong sense of camaraderie."
Wermes said she has worked in emergency medicine for more than 20 years for the same reasons.
"You like to see that patient get better in front of your eyes," she said.
The only difference between the Plainfield facility and Edward's Naperville campus is that the full hospital isn't there.
But Edward officials are still working on that.
In January 2009, the state board rejected Edward's third application to build a full hospital in Plainfield. The 130-bed, $241.5 million hospital would have been built next to the existing emergency center at 127th Street and Van Dyke Road.
Right now, the plan to build a full hospital in Plainfield is in a holding pattern, said Edward Vice President Brian Davis. Officials are keeping an eye on the market and on potential changes to the state health facility planning board.
"The market is still a factor. In the meantime, we have a huge investment already in Plainfield. We've invested close to $100 million on the campus," Davis said.
While usage of the emergency center has been largely on track with what Edward officials expected, Davis said people may not realize the center is open all night.
"We don't have as many patients during the midnight hours as we had anticipated," Davis said. "People need to understand that we are open overnight."
Weekends are the busiest at the Plainfield emergency center, followed by afternoons and evenings.
Waiting times vary, but there is rarely a backup of patients, Schubel said. If there was a long wait, more doctors would be called in to work.
Now anyone can find out the wait time in any of Edward's emergency centers by sending the text message "ERwait" to 41411 or by visiting the hospital Web site, www.edward.org .
While they continue to work toward a full-service hospital, Davis said officials are also thinking about expanding its Plainfield outpatient options.
Besides the emergency center, Edward already offers a surgical center, outpatient cardiology and radiology, as well as primary and specialty physician offices. Edward also opened the Edward Plainfield Cancer Center in December.
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services