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{child_flags:top_story}Cuero hospital expands emergency department

{child_byline}By Amber Aldaco | aaldaco@vicad.com{/child_byline}

CUERO – About three years ago, the Cuero Regional Hospital received feedback from the community and one issue stood out to them: a bigger and better emergency department was needed.

The request from the Cuero and DeWitt County communities was heard loud and clear.

The newly renovated emergency department will be open to the public in August with several additions and more space.

“We’re now able to better and more comfortably serve our patients,” said Judy Mazak, emergency department director.

The hospital had an official ribbon-cutting ceremony July 17 with tours throughout the department. The $1.5 million project began September 2017, said Emily Weatherly, marketing and development director for the hospital. The hospital added several new private patient rooms and about 1,000 square-feet of space.

The renovation comes after the hospital conducted community focus groups and surveys three years ago to find out how the hospital could improve. Mazak, who has been the emergency department director for four years, has also been instrumental in getting patients to move through the ER quickly to cut down on delays in service, said Lynn Falcone, the hospital’s chief executive officer.

“I won’t tell you there won’t be a wait, but we do a much better job at moving patients efficiently,” Falcone said.

The former patient registration area was located in the middle of the waiting room, which was not ideal for patient privacy, Weatherly said.

The new registration area is now across from the waiting room with two private areas.

“This makes a big difference for us,” Weatherly said.

The waiting room has enough seating for more than a dozen people, and a television will be placed in the room for patients. The hospital would like to eventually add a phone charging station in the waiting room as well, Weatherly said.

The hospital also added a space for triage to help patients move through the emergency space more quickly, something the hospital didn’t have before the renovation, Falcone said.

“That’s part of what drove this project — to bring in patient privacy and patient comfort,” Falcone said.

The waiting area also showcases the hospital’s mission statement, which was developed by staff from throughout different departments, Mazak said.

Each new private patient room also has privacy and safety features, such as technology to scan for medications to make sure patients receive the right medication. There is also a medication preparation area located in the ER nurses’ station, which will help minimize interruption to nurses as they prepare medication.

There are six private patient rooms, with half of them critical care rooms for more severe treatment cases, such as a patient who has been in a car wreck, Mazak said. The three larger rooms, which are located next to the EMS entrance, were not expanded but were updated during the renovation, she added.

The doors to the rooms also have integral blinds, which are good for both safety and infection control, Falcone said.

“This allows us to leave the blinds open and the nurses can still visualize the patient. Sometimes if we have behavioral issues, we can leave the blinds open ... You’d have less privacy but better visualization of our patients,” Falcone said.

Other new features in the patient rooms include stretchers with pressure-reducing features; state-of-the-art, touch-free, and overhead LED exam lights; and computer stations. The nurses’ station is also much more open and has been doubled in size as well. There is also a private room for the emergency room physician, Mazak said.

Emergency room staff will also have a lounge for the first time, Falcone said.

“We’re really glad and proud to have a lounge,” Mazak said.

The new space is beneficial for both patients and staff, she said. The expansion and renovation also helps nurses work more comfortably. For the past several years, the department has honed in on the patient experience, Mazak said, and the new layout will allow staff to function more efficiently and improve the patient experience overall.

The department is set to open sometime in August after a state inspection, Weatherly said.

“We’re very proud to be able to share this space with our patients and their families,” she said.

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Amber Aldaco reports on regional counties for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at aaldaco@vicad.com or 361-580-6303.

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The Cuero Regional Hospital serves a 50-mile radius, which includes

  • Cuero
  • Goliad
  • Yorktown
  • Nordheim
  • Westhoff
  • Nixon
  • Yoakum

The emergency department has two registered nurses, a mid-shift nurse and one physician on staff.

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Amber Aldaco reports on regional counties for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at aaldaco@vicad.com or 361-580-6303.

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Education Reporter

Amber Aldaco is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She's covered various events in the Crossroads including a zoo rescue, a biker funeral and a state meeting with the governor. She enjoys singing with her significant other.

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