A consultant has been chosen, and the initial planning stages have begun for a new design of the Emergency Department at the Arrow Lakes Hospital.
The department hasn’t had an update since the hospital was built in 1975. While medical and nursing staff at the hospital provide great care, they can only do so much with what they have. There currently aren’t enough electrical outlets in the department, meaning staff have to use extension cords, which can pose a safety hazard.
Through the planning process, designers from the architectural group Stantec Architecture Ltd. will review renovations for a new triage area including two new trauma bays, — one of which can be used for labour and delivery, renovated patient exam bays with improved privacy and an enclosed multi-purpose meeting room near the emergency department for family consultations or waiting space for family during trauma situations.
The goals of the emergency department redesign are to improve patient privacy and flow while also increasing the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the space.
“Right now, when patients come to the department, they are in an open area telling their story to either the reception desk or the nurse,” said Cheryl Whittleton, the Kootenay Boundary Hospitals and Communities Administrator with Interior Health. “Current standards are to have a dedicated room and the nurses do a great job where they bring people in and provide them a bed, but right now the space is small and you can hear what’s happening in the next stretcher when you are in the department.”
During the planning work, options for the potential renovations will be reviewed and a schematic design will be prepared. This information will be used to determine the expected cost of the renovations and timelines. The project’s budget is $100,000, which has been funded by the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District (WKBRHD).
Many in the WKBRHD, and the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) believe residents will be very happy with the improvements to be made.
“People really care about our hospital and our staff,” said Karen Hamling, mayor of Nakusp and president of the RDCK. “They want to have the best for them, and anything that’s going to help our medical staff and our nursing staff with giving better care. With the improvements in the emergency room, it will be much more efficient for them.”
The initial planning process is expected to take somewhere between six and nine months to complete.