By Marcia Love
The big move will be taking place in one week, and the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility is just about ready.
The new facility is filled with state-of-the-art technology designed to provide more effective and efficient services to patients.
That equipment will be put to use starting June 17 when the new hospital is officially opened.
The public has a chance to have a peek inside the brand new facility this week, and much of what they will see within the 85,000-square-foot building is not what you’d typically find in a small-town health facility.
When anyone enters the building, they will come right to the front desk and be directed to the appropriate area.
Because the facility will follow the Lean process, it is designed without any waiting rooms.
“The idea is that you as a customer shouldn’t have to wait,” explained Trent Regier, director of rural health for Cypress Health Region. “You should be able to come for your appointment, get what you need and go home.”
The universal care platform includes 16 identical clinic rooms – 10 small rooms and six larger ones. Each is equipped with everything a physician or nurse practitioner will need when they are seeing a patient. This includes a computer to access X-rays, lab information and electronic medical records. Each exam table is fully powered and wheelchair accessible. Two rooms are equipped with special chairs for podiatry.
Rooms are stocked with essential supplies, while specialty carts stored in the hallway are stocked with anything else health care providers may need.
“We’ll have general supply carts – wound care, splinting and casting, laceration and incision, women’s health, foot care, and an IV cart,” Regier said, noting a cart could hold between $40-50,000 worth of product. While the supplies can expire before they’re put to use when stored in each room, the cart system ensures this doesn’t happen, saving money.
To speed up the process, the facility’s nurse call system will be used to let a physician know when a patient is waiting in a clinical room at the push of a button. When lab, X-ray or other services are needed, they are also notified via the keypad in the room. Once the visit is over, a button is pushed to send housekeeping to clean the room. This system can also be monitored to determine exactly which staff member is responding to each patient room and how long it has taken them to do that.
Staff in universal care don’t have their own offices, but each have a cubicle to allow them to collaborate more easily. Up to 30 staff can operate out of the large room.
The pharmacy is larger than most found in rural communities, with the ability to expand and provide cancer treatments and renal dialysis.
With three bays for ambulances located on the north side of the building, patients will no longer need to be brought in through the front doors of the facility as they were in the old hospital. The trauma room can treat two people at a time. It is equipped with a physiological monitor which keeps track of blood pressure, respiration, pulse, amount of oxygen in blood, and cardiac rhythms. With the flick of a switch, specialists in Swift Current will be able to see all this information on a monitor there. They can then determine if the patient needs to be transported to Swift Current, Regina or stay where they are, saving a drive to Swift Current to actually see a specialist.
The wireless clocks throughout the facility are all synchronized to the exact same time.
Every room in the building has video conferencing available, and with a 100 Mbps Internet service, Regier noted it’s one of the fastest in health care facilities around.
“We anticipate that we can probably run 70 people on Netflix, our eight Telehealth units, and all our computer systems without seeing a decrease in our speed,” Regier stated, adding the public will also have access to wifi.
There are four fixed Telehealth units and four portable ones, which will allow a more secure line of communication for consultations with health care providers in other centres.
All areas of the facility where patients or residents sleep or bathe are equipped with an overhead lift system.
While most of the lab equipment is not new, it is only a few years old, with an estimated value of $1 million, not including the new X-ray which was fundraised for and purchased about five years ago and brought over from the old hospital.
Regier stated that the $3.5 million the community raised to purchase new equipment is excellent, but it also means that equipment will eventually all expire at the same time.
“We’ve said to them, you need to be prepared to replace everything, so they’re working on that,” he said.
The facility has 24 acute care beds – 12 of which will be open on June 17. They are equipped with all basic needs for care and have their own bathroom with shower.
A telemetry system will allow staff to monitor an in-patient from almost anywhere in the building. The wireless system means a patient isn’t physically hooked up to machines.
“If you don’t have telemetry, they’re stuck to their bed and can’t go anywhere,” Regier said. “(With telemetry) I can tell if you’re in trouble, where you are, and track cardiac rhythms.”
There is a bariatric room, which can also be used if two family members are sent to the hospital at the same time.
A negative pressure room can be used to isolate a patient with an airborne illness, venting the air through a HEPA filter and outside.
A therapeutic bath in the spa room is designed to not only bathe patients, but make them feel relaxed and relieve stress.
Safety and security
The building is equipped with a card swipe system for access to certain areas, allowing for more control.
“If I’m a registered nurse or a maintenance person or someone who doesn’t have to be back (in a specific area), I can’t get back there,” Regier explained.
In the case of an emergency or evacuation, management will be able to access and print off a list of every staff member in the building based on who has swiped their card.
At the nurses’ desk, staff have a clear view of the front entryway. At night when the doors are locked, a closed-circuit television monitors the area, and a video intercom allows staff to communicate with whoever is at the front doors before letting them in.
With 16 rooms in each of the three resident homes, the long-term care facility will be at full capacity when residents move in August. One of the wings is ready, while the contractor is completing work on the remaining two.
Although the health region is only required to provide a bed and wardrobe to residents, it was decided it would purchase extra furniture on behalf of the community. But residents will have room to bring their favourite chair or desk with them if they wish.
Each home – Prairie Meadows, Prairie Oasis and Paradise Pines – has two adjoining rooms which can be shared by friends or a couple. One couple will be moving into the new facility this summer. Regier noted couples can decide whether they’d like to keep the adjoining rooms as they are or have one as a bedroom and the other as a living room. Each room comes with a smart TV, which residents can hook up to a video camera and Skype with loved ones.
Every home has its own courtyard, kitchen, dining room, laundry room for personal items, and a cosy spa room. Residents can have a relaxing bath to ease their aches and pains.
“It’s something special for our residents,” Regier said. “They can get into a warm tub with jets.”
The town hall in the long-term care facility can hold about 50 people for group activities. It can also be booked by the public for special functions and has its own kitchen.
Within the building’s state-of-the-art kitchen, staff will be able to prepare food for acute care patients as well as the meals-on-wheels program. This could mean preparing 30-60 plates each day.
The small cafeteria will offer items such as soup, sandwiches and yogurt, with an area for people to sit and eat.
Just off this area is a large conference room, which can hold up to 50 people.
Once in full operation, the new health facility will have about 180 permanent staff and 20-25 visiting specialists.
Regier emphasized the $49-million budget for the new facility has not increased as a result of the building not being finished last fall as originally planned.
While he admitted families of long-term care residents are disappointed their loved ones won’t be moving into their new homes as quickly as they had hoped, Regier said the health region decided it was for the best. According to the rural health director, up to 20 per cent of long-term care residents can pass away due to the stress of such a big move. If they were moved at the same time as universal and acute care, the health region would run the risk of having to move them again while remaining touch-ups are completed in their new homes. The contractor intends to have the work complete some time in the first two weeks of August.
In the meantime, Regier said about 20 residents have had a glimpse of their future homes.
“They’re picking their rooms… and so the anticipation is definitely building,” he said.
Although residents will have to wait a couple more months, the health region decided moving in two phases was the best option to get health care services back up to where they should be. Maple Creek has been functioning without an actual hospital facility since the old hospital was closed due to its leaking roof over a year ago.
“We didn’t feel we were leaving the community in a safe place, and so we wanted to fix that,” Regier stated. “The safest people that we have right now is our long-term care residents, so it was decided there’s no hurry in moving them. Let’s open what we can and provide services.”
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