Efficiency, security and privacy are now improved at the Creston Valley Hospital’s upgraded emergency room, which opened April 14 after a $650,000 renovation.
The ER now has a private triage and registration room, renovated central nursing station and redeveloped fast-track area for minor treatment. The department no longer allows public access to the rest of the hospital, addressing security concerns raised by staff and patients.
“I’m so excited for the nurses and doctors to begin working in this emergency room, because it’s what they designed,” said site manager Carolyn Hawton, speaking in a ceremony prior to the opening and ribbon cutting.
Hospital staff met regularly with contractors and designers leading up to the renovation, suggesting alterations and adding new ideas.
“That group did not get smaller, the voices did not get quieter,” said Hawton.
Patients’ input was also part of the process, with Hawton poring over ideas from the department’s suggestion box.
“They were part of the project, too,” she said.
The renovation, started in January, actually finished two months ahead of schedule, opening last week with new furniture not having arrived.
Creston’s T.A. Rendek and Associates, along with sub-contractors, were on the site before 7 a.m. each day, and worked a lot of evenings and weekends to get the job done, said Hawton.
“They were so conscientious,” she said after the ceremony. “They were so respectful that they were working in a hospital. … They didn’t want to make any patients uncomfortable.”
The Interior Health Authority (IHA) announced the renovation in November, made possible by bequeathals from the estates of Jessie Julia Hopper, Don and Dariel Korczynski, and Blanche Oleskiw, held by the East Kootenay Foundation for Health.
The Korcynskis both died in 2009, he in August and she in December following a battle with lung cancer. Both were strong community supporters, adopting dogs from the Pet Adoption and Welfare Society and attending every Creston Valley Thunder and Thunder Cats game they could.
“They made a quiet impact in the community during the 30 years they lived here, and the lasting legacy of their estate will make a big difference to all our lives forever,” said Kathy Tompkins, their executor, during the ceremony.
Notary public Lorne Man represented Hopper’s estate, and said that she had CVH in her will since the 1980s, appreciating the care she and her husband received from hospital staff.
“She never wavered from the Creston Valley Hospital to be her main beneficiary,” he said. “You can thank yourselves for receiving this gift.”
The ceremony before the opening and ribbon cutting included several other speakers, starting with Lower Kootenay Band Chief Jason Louie, who said the assembled crowd was gathered “in the spirit of humanity.”
“It’s truly a blessing today to gather to see what hard work and community can do,” he said.
IHA board member Dennis Rounsville expressed his appreciation for the Tuck Shop volunteers, who raise significant amounts for needed hospital equipment, as well as the three donors’ contributions to the emergency room.
“Without those donations, today’s celebration could not happen,” he said.
“It’s going to be a great asset to the medical community and the people of the Creston Valley,” said Creston Coun. Joanna Wilson, who attended on behalf of Mayor Ron Toyota.
Former CVH chief of staff Dr. Randy Grahn recalled the days when the ER used to have three or four stretchers in one room, before privacy and security were considerations, and before space was needed for new technology.
“This renovation that’s been done has addressed the needs we’ve identified,” he said.
Current chief of staff Dr. Nerene Kleinhans thanked Grahn and Drs. Daile Hoffman and John Griffioen for their work with the design team, and the hospital’s nurses.
“Nurses may not be angels, but they are the next best thing,” she said.