By Marcia Love
The new integrated healthcare facility has been up and running for some time now, but Cypress Health Region reports it is still working through a list of thing yet to be completed at the location.
A planned power outage yesterday afternoon left part of the facility in the dark and several services unavailable while the contractor addressed electrical issues between the main and backup power systems.
According to the health region, the outage was a single occurrence and no additional planned power outages are anticipated.
But there are other details that are being addressed by the contractor and the health region while the health facility is in operation.
“We’re just working through some of the unknowns (that come up when) you get into the new building,” explained Trent Regier, Cypress Health Region’s director of rural health. “People may see some contractors in and out of the building, and that’s OK, they’re working on areas that need to be worked on.”
He is confident this work can be done around the hospital and long-term care facility’s daily operations, with as little disruption to staff, patients and residents as possible.
“If we have to do some remedial work in say one of the long-term care houses, we might just have to take residents for that period of time to the town hall, do an activity, do an outside activity, those type of things,” he stated. “But based on what we know today, we shouldn’t have to disrupt services for that work to be done.”
The nurse call system is up and running, but it is getting some fine-tuning, he said. That is being done off-site, as the hardware is installed and it’s just the programming that’s being worked on. There is also some remedial work being done to the RoamAlert system, which wirelessly monitors a patient’s vital signs and location from anywhere in the facility.
Plans are being made for an electronic charting system in long-term care, which is expected to be rolled out in January in Maple Creek. Once the health region sees how successful it is, it will look at introducing it at its other long-term care facilities.
As far as day-to-day operations at the new hospital — which has been open for almost three months — and the new long-term care facility — which has been home to residents for about three weeks — it’s still a learning process.
“We seem to have some peaks and valleys in our acute care side,” said Regier.
But he also noted the facility’s in-patient count is up, “which is a good thing — that means people are coming back to Maple Creek for services, and thats good.”
Program planning continues, and the director said chemotherapy service enhancements are being looked at.
“We’re working with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency on working through the logistics of that,” Regier said. “And so we’re hoping that in the next couple months we’ll see increased services there.”
The TeleHealth system is functional, and the health region is working with providers to use the system to its full capacity.
Regier said some of the new programs and systems staff will have to learn have been put on hold because there has been a lot for them to take in and learn already at the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility.
“We didn’t want to overwhelm them, so as staff settle in we’ll introduce new services,” he said. “There’s lots of new things that we’re ironing out — making sure we have the right staff in the right location at the right time, making sure that all our systems are working. And our staff are doing a fantastic job of diving into the new world.”
After the move, staff were given permission not to do a lot of the cooking for a couple weeks while they settled into the new rotation, Regier said. But by day two, they were already starting to cook breakfast and bake items like bread and cinnamon buns.
He noted the health region is thankful for the patience from the community, staff and residents over the last several months.
The director expects the facility will be functioning as usual within the next few months.
“We’re still tweaking things in the regional hospital in Swift Current, and we’ve been there for seven years. But our norm I think will be that four to six months when we get people settled into their new routines and surroundings,” Regier said. “I think overall, we’re happy where we’re settling in, but by no means are we anywhere near finished all the work that needs to be done with program planning and moving our programs forward.”