Swedish Covenant Health

Expanding Access and Supporting Victims

Swedish Covenant Health has one of the busiest emergency rooms in the city of Chicago. To increase access for patients and reduce wait times, the hospital renovated its emergency department (ED) in 2018.

“We had patients in halls before and now we use better allocation of space to make them rooms,” explains Kimberly Leslie, ED Clinical Director.

The two-year project improved the ED’s operational efficiency, flexibility and capacity, while also addressing unique patient needs. The new design took into account input from physicians, nurses and other staff.

The renovated 17,000 square feet of the department now has:

  • 27 acute care rooms;
  • Four behavioral health rooms and a specialized behavioral health unit;
  • Eight quick-care rooms;
  • Three triage rooms;
  • An electrocardiogram room;
  • A lactation room;
  • Three internal waiting rooms; and
  • Four hall suites with oxygen.

The renovation also includes new services for patients who have suffered trauma or crisis. A new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner room provides a safe space for survivors of sexual assault, complete with a private bathroom, shower and conference area.

“The space is not only important for patients, it also is important for our doctors and nurses because caring for survivors of sexual assault is a very involved and stressful process,” notes Kate Lawler, director of the violence prevention program at Swedish Covenant. “Having all of the resources in one place is very beneficial to creating a seamless process.”

Leslie also stresses the importance of having a separate, designated area for sexual assault survivors: “If law enforcement needs to come talk to [the patient], there's some privacy without others watching.”

A new office was constructed for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois’ Project IMPACT, a behavioral health intervention service for patients experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis. Crisis counselors serve patients regardless of insurance status and make referrals to external services, including outpatient counseling and domestic violence services.

Additional features like new, comfortable chairs provide a better experience for patients and visitors, while updated technology supports more efficient care. The renovation allows Swedish Covenant to serve 20,000 more patients annually.