Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center has opened its expanded emergency department. The $7 million project, which was built over 16 months, adds nine new rooms to the emergency department, with a focus on behavioral health and geriatric needs of the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire.
The need for an expanded emergency department was identified several years ago, with providers, nurses and a range of support staff contributing to the planning. Construction began in May 2021 and was recently completed. The department now has a total of 11 rooms for behavioral healthcare. Other additions include a treatment room with negative pressure capability for high threat infection, group therapy/activity room, mass decontamination room and single decontamination room.
Access to behavioral health beds is a crisis for hospitals across New Hampshire and the United States. These patients often get stuck in emergency departments while waiting for treatment options. Improvements to the department ensure they receive care in an appropriate setting for their needs.
The addition of rooms with windows and natural light is also beneficial to elderly behavioral health patients, as they will help minimize episodes of increased confusion to which elderly patients are especially susceptible.