Tobey Hospital Emergency Department Expansion Begins

WAREHAM – Wareham residents, elected officials, and Southcoast Health staff celebrated the start of construction on Tobey Hospital’s emergency department expansion last week.

The $25 million capital project, funded in part by philanthropic contributions from the community, will target a completion date of late 2020 and will quadruple the facility’s space to 25,000 square feet.

The project will also increase the number of treatment rooms from 15 to 27.

Behavioral health patients will have access to six specially designed treatment rooms for provider response to substance abuse disorders and mental health crises.

The current emergency department was last renovated in 1987 and was meant to accommodate 15,000 patients annually, half the 30,000 patients the Tobey emergency department now receives each year.

The renovated emergency department will accommodate 40,000 patients per year.

“This is how a community-based health system responds to community,” Southcoast Health President and CEO Keith Hovan told the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony, which took place during Emergency Nurses Week.

“Patients will be treated in privacy, and families will wait in comfort. Our staff will deliver their excellent clinical care in spacious surroundings that enhance their work experience. As a former nurse manage of a busy emergency department, I know firsthand how demanding the emergency medical setting is. As a father, husband and friend, I also know what it’s like to be on the other side,” he said.

Tobey Emergency Department Manger Deborah Gonsalves, RN, said her staff is looking forward to the improvements.

“In the current ED, our nurses, techs, and providers deliver high-quality care in incredibly tight quarters, and they never let the stress of working in such a crowded space get to them or their patients,” Gonsalves said.

“The new ED’s design will allow them to take care to an even higher level, ensuring more personal interactions when patients need it most. A carefully planned layout will increase efficiency, so that patients can be seen and treated more quickly.” 

Wareham Board of Selectmen Chair Patrick Tropeano agreed on the importance of the expansion, relating a personal story about the personalized, world-class care offered at Southcoast Health, as well as the commitment of Southcoast providers to their community.

“Back in 2009, my family was involved in an accident on the highway, the car rolls over; the car’s upside down. One of my children is severely injured,” Tropeano recalled.

“My 9-year-old daughter, they get her out of there, but they can’t get a Life Flight, however our EMS were able to get her here to Tobey, where they stabilize her. They take good care of her, and then they’re ready to get her off to Boston Children’s Hospital, where she undergoes hours of surgery and many months of recovery…without Tobey Hospital, that wouldn’t have happened,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Bill Keating said that the expanded emergency department at Tobey represents a commitment to the region that will have an immediate positive impact.

“Our community benefits in so many ways from Southcoast Health’s clinical services, investments and partnerships,” Keating.

“I’m proud to work with the town of Wareham as well as with Southcoast on far-reaching initiatives like these. Today, I congratulate both on further supporting and strengthening our area’s emergency services, first responders, and all of the physicians, nurses, and staff who provide high quality health care.”  

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.
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