Increase in Lowcountry Veterans leads to VA emergency department expansion

VIDEO: Increase in Lowcountry Veterans leads to VA emergency department expansion

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A new, improved, and expanded emergency department will soon be opening at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center.

Over the past decade, the hospital has seen an increase in veterans which in turn lead to the push for this expansion. One of the main reasons for the increase is because a lot of retired veterans are moving to the area and need care.

The newly renovated space is more than double the size of what it was before. It's now almost 1,300 square feet.

Jehad Karriem is the assistant nurse manager in the emergency department.

"It's going to improve care for veterans tremendously just by giving us more space,” Karriem said. “I think we are all excited about it."

These renovations added nine new treatment bays for a total of 18. Four of those are dedicated as mental health rooms. Two modified nursing stations were also built to “facilitate collaborative care continuity and increase visibility of all patients,” the hospital says.

They also added state-of-the-art technology upgrades and additional physician work room space.

"Each of our rooms have a door and a curtain to give you maximum privacy,” Karriem said. “We've also taken some extra steps to do some things for women. Our veteran female population has increased, and we've included some things that are especially for our female population."

The price tag of the project was $1,832,043, and it’s set to officially open on Jan. 22.

The front lobby of the hospital also got renovated. That added almost 1,500 square feet to that space and cost more than $1.5 million.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.