Gardena Opens ED Surge Unit

Pictured here (left to right) are employees Christine MacLennan, Jiwon Lee and Paolo Joaquin who completed the scavenger hunt as part of their orientation to the new unit.

Memorial Hospital of Gardena has opened a new surge unit to alleviate crowding in the Emergency Department, decreasing ambulance diversion and providing more timely care to more patients.

The new unit is the latest example of Pipeline Health’s restructuring work, which explores new and different ways of serving our patients.

“This new unit came about from our need to address the overcrowding we have had in the Emergency Department, especially on the weekends,” explained hospital CEO Victor Carrasco. “By rethinking how we deliver emergency care, our team has opened this new unit to better serve our patients.”

The unit opened March 4 in space that had been used for storage. Previously, the third floor unit housed the hospital’s Labor and Delivery service, which closed in 2020.

“We are pleased to give more timely, efficient and safe care to our patients,” said Antaures Osborne, R.N., director of emergency services. “Our first night with patients on the unit went really well.  I expected challenges opening week, but overall, it’s been a huge success.” 

To orient staff to the new unit, Osborne organized tours and a scavenger hunt for employees to find various items needed on the unit, such as sharps containers, patient care supplies, PPE, hazardous waste containers and more.

Gardena Opens ED Surge Unit

Dr. Robert Bei handles dictation on his first patient seen on the unit on opening day March 4.

The six-bed surge unit is open during the ED’s busiest days and times, Sunday through Tuesday, from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Unit staff include two nurses, an EMT and a physician.

“This unit represents a great partnership with our medical staff,” Carrasco added. “They are pleased that we now can reduce boarding time for our patients and ensure better throughput, instead of going on diversion.”

Carrasco noted that a special permit from the California Department of Public Health was required to create the surge unit. The permit expires in June, providing expanded capacity during the busy flu season. The hospital will track utilization over the coming months and consider reopening the unit again next year.

March 30, 2024