Construction begins this week to add improved treatment spaces, a new waiting room, barrier-free washrooms and other amenities to the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre emergency department (ED).
The renovation project will also offer other enhancements and additions that will benefit patients, families, and staff by improving the visibility of the waiting area from the triage desk, so staff can more easily monitor patients for changes in their conditions.
“Keeping the Lacombe emergency department upgraded, modern and renovated is important for those seeking emergency care,” says Sarah Hoffman, Alberta’s Minister of Health. “Our government is committed to fighting for the priorities of Albertans – like ensuring that patients have the best possible healthcare services and healthcare spaces. Budget 2018 earmarked $131 million for maintenance and renovation projects of healthcare facilities to ensure Albertans have a healthcare system they can depend on.”
“This project is significant and will have a range of benefits,” adds Kimberley Sommerville, site manager at the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre. “This work will help ensure we’re able to deliver the best care possible in a safe and functional environment for years to come.”
Every effort will be made to minimize the disruption to patients during construction, which is expected to be completed by next fall.
The first phase of the project, beginning today, will involve the temporary relocation of the ED to a section of the acute care unit within the facility. This relocation is necessary to ensure patient and staff safety during construction. The public entrance to the ED will not change, and all patients presenting to the department will continue to receive care.
Closure of the ambulance bay with also occur Nov. 20, which will create a new traffic pattern for EMS crews and public driving in. A clearly marked, designated parking location will be provided for ambulances at the front of the building. Patients, visitors and staff are reminded to pay attention to, and abide by, all posted signage.
“We are making every effort possible to limit the impact of this work to our patients, physicians, staff and EMS partners,” says Sommerville. “We know construction work of any kind can cause some frustrations, but safety is our primary concern and is the reason for the temporary relocation of the ED and traffic disruptions around the site.”
The $3.1 million project – which will also include new nursing stations, improved infection prevention and control measures, and improved lighting – is being led by Alberta Health Services (AHS), in partnership with the Lacombe Health Trust.
AHS is contributing $1.8 million for construction, project design and consulting engineering. It has been funded through the Government of Alberta’s Infrastructure Maintenance Program (IMP).
In recent years, more than $2.2 million in additional IMP funding has been invested in other projects at the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre, including replacement of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit; boiler upgrades; repairs to the chiller unit; and renovations to nursing units and patio.
Additionally, the Lacombe Health Trust has pledged $1.3 million towards the project for new equipment and construction costs. These funds are being raised through community donations.
“We have the opportunity to make a real, measurable and significant difference in the delivery of healthcare in Lacombe,” says Jim Dixon Jr., Board Chair of the Lacombe Health Trust. “I’m so grateful for the unwavering support of our many generous donors – from individuals to businesses to groups – who have made this project possible.”
Through discussions with staff, the Lacombe Health Trust became aware of the need for improvement to patient flow in the emergency department and, in 2015, funded a feasibility study with monies raised at its annual charity golf tournament.
About 24,000 visits are made to the local emergency department every year. The facility provides services for about 22,000 people living in Lacombe and surrounding areas.
AHS will continue to update the community as the ED renovation project progresses, including any potential impacts to staff, patients and visitors.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.
-Submitted by Alberta Health Services