By Marcia Love
Equipment and furnishings are expected to be moved into the new integrated healthcare facility this week, with staff orientation starting shortly after.
The moving process was delayed by about two weeks as Graham Construction completes finishing work on the universal care wing and part of acute care.
“There’s just little tie-in things that they’re finishing up,” explained Trent Regier, director of rural health services. This includes finishing a small amount of wiring.
While Cypress Health Region could have begun moving furnishings and equipment in during that time, they decided to wait until everything is completely finished.
“It would slow them down if we were in there, and it creates an opportunity where equipment could potentially get damaged or dirty,” Regier said.
Zone one – universal care and part of acute care – have been boarded off from zone two – long-term care and the remainder of acute care – to allow cleaning and other preparations to be done on zone one.
The X-ray equipment was installed last week, and motors for lifts in patient rooms will be installed soon as well.
The con-von system in the clinical rooms allows supplies for each room to be stocked from the hallway and accessed from within the room. Not only does it allow less disruption of conversations between patients and health care providers, but it also removes “dead inventory,” Regier said. Under the old system, stock could sit in a warehouse and become outdated before it’s cycled into use. Maple Creek used to have about three months worth of product available, but a shipment could arrive every week. Through the new Lean system, stock will be ordered more often, resulting in less sitting on the shelf. The intent is to have only 10 days worth of supplies stocked.
“If three months costs us $100,000 in inventory, we might only need $10,000 in inventory,” Regier explained. “So what it means to the health system is we don’t have $90,000 tied up in inventory sitting on a shelf.”
The universal care nurse call system allows a faster more effective way for patients to be seen by their health care providers. The electronic screen in each room sends a signal to alert physicians when they have a patient waiting in a clinical room. If lab work is required, the physician will push a button which sends a signal to lab staff. Once this is complete, lab staff push another button to indicate to cleaning staff the room is ready to be cleaned, and when this is done cleaning staff push the ‘room ready’ button.
A room for storing X-rays has locking cabinets for the files, which must be kept for at least seven years. Because X-rays are stored electronically now, there will eventually no longer be a need for the X-ray storage area and the room will be put to new use.
Regier pointed out all materials that could be sourced locally for the new facility were used – from hiring local workers to excavation work and topsoil purchased.
Koncrete Construction Group was contracted for concrete, and building supplies that could be found at Pioneer Co-op home centre were purchased there. Blinds that were recently installed were all purchased from Country Lane Kitchens.
If all goes well, Regier said the new hospital should be operational by the middle to the end of May. The entire facility is expected to be completed by April.
“We’re planning that four to six weeks (additional move-in and training time) just to buy us some time if something happens,” he explained.
Regier said the biggest factors in having it open before the summer is the community’s patience – as work was expected to be completed in early fall last year – and staff who will be planning summer vacations in July and August.
“If we push too close to July, we’re going to have to have some tough conversations,” he said, adding this may mean waiting until September to move residents into the long-term care facility so staff can have their vacation time. “But my push will be to get in here by the middle of May.”
According to the health region, the delay in completion has not created any additional costs to the health region or the community’s financial commitment.
Cypress Health Region spokesperson Bryce Martin noted the health region realizes the importance for the community to have acute in-patient services restored. Maple Creek has not been able to have in-patients for longer than eight to 12 hours since the old hospital was closed last May.