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Craig Mittleman, MD inspected an exam light in one of the new private rooms
Craig Mittleman, MD, regional medical director of Emergency Services for L+M and Westerly hospitals, inspected an exam light in one of the new private rooms opening this month in L+M Hospital’s Emergency Department, Cari Gutelius, RN, director of Nursing for Inpatient Services/interim director for Emergency Services (left), and Karen Mackinnel, RN, nurse manager, L+M ED, also took the opportunity to review the new space.

New private rooms usher in the future of emergency care at L+M Hospital

The $81.6 million power upgrade and Emergency Department renovation at L+M Hospital began roughly five years ago, but this month – after challenges that included a pandemic and maintaining patient care throughout construction – the first of 57 new private rooms opened to patients.

The project is not expected to be fully complete until 2026, but the opening of seven new rooms and a new nursing station was proof positive for staff that the project is entering its most impactful stage for patients.

“This is one of the more powerful gifts that we are able to give back to the community, with privacy and a new clinical environment,” said Craig Mittleman, MD, chairman, regional medical director of Emergency Services for L+M and Westerly hospitals. “These new rooms reflect the commitment that L+M and Yale New Haven Health have made in this community, and it’s a gift. It’s also a gift to our staff who have been working tirelessly in an Emergency Department that really needed to be revitalized.”

When fully completed, the 57-room ED will have a net gain of 20 beds with state-of-the-art equipment designed in part by front-line nurses who gave input on ways to enhance ergonomics and functionality.

L+M’s new rooms feature overhead exam lights, and all lights operate on dimmers to enhance the patient experience. TVs will be equipped for telehealth, and there will be an eight-room Psychiatry/Behavioral Health section and three designated pediatric rooms.

The ED project kicked off in 2019. The first phase required replacing antiquated power lines coming from the street. When a new ED waiting and triage area opened in 2022, the two floors above the waiting area contained all the new power equipment for the entire hospital, and two massive generators for backup power in emergencies. Only then could room renovations begin.

With seven new rooms open, contractors will begin closing off a corresponding number of existing ED rooms and, section by section, upgrading the entire unit. Diagnostic Imaging will also have a major renovation, including renovating the hospital’s nearby CT suite; two older scanners in separate locations will be upgraded with two new scanners next to each other adjacent to the ED.

“The vision and planning for this project goes back as far as 2016,” Dr. Mittleman said. “I watch the faces of the staff members who have walked through the new area. It gives them a sense of purpose and a sense of enhanced importance for the work they do. It’s a beautiful thing.”