MERRILLVILLE | There's a three-letter word that Cindy Mirabella expects to hear a lot this month: wow.
Mirabella, nurse manager at the Methodist Hospitals Southlake campus emergency department, is eager for the community to tour the hospital's new emergency department.
An open house is scheduled for March 16, and patients will be accepted in the new area starting March 20.
The "wow" factor Mirabella refers to starts with the hand-mixed, hand-poured entryway terrazzo floor that sparkles with pieces of seven shattered mirrors.
Walls are painted in muted shades, such as beige and sage. Large photos of nature hang in the halls and waiting rooms. Faux dune land grasses border the seating areas.
Beyond aesthetics, the new 21,000-square-foot emergency department will be an upgraded experience for patients and staff.
The new area has 23 rooms with another two procedure rooms. There are bedside computers and lighting with adjustable intensity. The old emergency room used curtains to divide patients. The new one has sliding glass doors, Mirabella said.
A behavioral room monitored by a security camera has equipment hidden away and lights out of reach from patients who attempted suicide, are intoxicated or high on drugs.
Flow and efficiency were important in the design, said Victor Garcia, director of critical care and the emergency department.
A nurse stationed at the front door will greet walk-ins and direct them to the proper area. A family waiting room will shield children from seeing people rushing in with serious injuries.
"Everything that comes through the ER is not always child appropriate," Mirabella said.
Two trauma rooms, indoor hazmat showers and an office area for emergency medical technicians are situated steps from the ambulance entrance.
The fast track area serves as an urgent care setting, with six rooms for quick treatment and a private Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners area.
The appeal of a new facility with new equipment and modern design is attracting job applicants.
"This is the type of environment that's going to draw talented folks," said Matt Doyle, CFO of Methodist Hospitals.