New wait­ing room to be much more pleas­ant

Penticton Herald - - OKANAGAN SIMILAKEEN - By JOHN MOORHOUSE

EDI­TOR’S NOTE: This is part of the “PRH: Mak­ing A Dif­fer­ence” se­ries of ar­ti­cles ap­pear­ing daily in the Pen­tic­ton Her­ald un­til Nov. 3, high­light­ing Pen­tic­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal as it moves to­wards the open­ing of its new pa­tient care tower in the spring of 2019.

Pa­tients re­quir­ing blood tests or drop­ping off other sam­ples at Pen­tic­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal’s lab will soon find things much more com­fort­able.

The new David E. Kampe Tower un­der construction at PRH will in­clude a much larger out­pa­tient blood col­lec­tion cen­tre. Cur­rently, pa­tients await­ing lab work must sit among a half-dozen chairs in a busy hall­way between the hospi­tal’s main (cen­tral) and south pav­il­ions.

Pathol­o­gist Dr. Su­san Teb­butt said although the lab­o­ra­tory’s tech­ni­cal area is not mov­ing into the new tower, the new col­lec­tion cen­tre will be a marked im­prove­ment over the cur­rent fa­cil­ity.

“As it is now, the chairs do en­croach on the hall­way of a main thor­ough­fare in the hospi­tal,” Teb­butt said. “Now there will be a proper wait­ing room sec­tioned off — a much more pleas­ant area.”

About 100 to 150 peo­ple a day uti­lize the out­pa­tient lab. Teb­butt said most pa­tients re­al­ize the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion re­flects the ag­ing in­fra­struc­ture of the ex­ist­ing hospi­tal and that the open­ing of the new tower is only about 18 months away.

The new fa­cil­ity will in­clude 15 chairs in the wait­ing room, plus four pri­vate blood sam­ple col­lec­tion cu­bi­cles and two pa­tient wash­rooms. There will also be a bed for pa­tients to lie down if they don’t feel well af­ter giv­ing a blood sam­ple.

“The ac­tual blood draw ar­eas are far more pri­vate. They’re ac­tu­ally sep­a­rate cu­bi­cles, with sep­a­rate print­ers for our staff to print the la­bels for the sam­ples,” she said.

Sam­ples will be im­me­di­ately de­liv­ered by a pneu­matic tube sys­tem to the main lab for pro­cess­ing.

While pneu­matic tubes used for de­liv­er­ing mail and small parcels in of­fice build­ings haven’t been seen for decades, they are still uti­lized within many hospi­tals for quickly send­ing drugs, doc­u­ments and spec­i­mens to and from lab­o­ra­to­ries and nurses’ sta­tions.

“Other de­part­ments will be us­ing the tubes too. Sam­ples will come down from the wards to the lab,” she said. “I have used them pre­vi­ously at other hospi­tals.”

Teb­butt said the en­tire out­pa­tient area is de­signed to be very pa­tient-friendly. It will be lo­cated on the main floor of the new tower, not far from its front en­trance off Govern­ment Street. Other out­pa­tient ser­vices will also be lo­cated nearby, in­clud­ing X-rays, res­pi­ra­tory ser­vices, and heart ser­vices.

The lab has more than 50 full and part-time staff mem­bers, in­clud­ing Dr. Teb­butt and two other pathol­o­gists. The hospi­tal is now look­ing to re­cruit an­other pathol­o­gist as well.

PRH is un­der­go­ing a $312-mil­lion ex­pan­sion and the South Okana­gan Sim­ilka­meen Med­i­cal Foun­da­tion is rais­ing $20 mil­lion to pro­vide the med­i­cal equip­ment re­quired. To do­nate, con­tact the SOS Med­i­cal Foun­da­tion at 250-492-9027 or visit our web­site.

Spe­cial to The Her­ald

Del­lene Lewen­don, a med­i­cal lab tech­ni­cian at Pen­tic­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal, pre­pares to take a blood sam­ple from Su­sanne Zelmer. The new PRH pa­tient care tower will in­clude a much roomier blood sam­ple col­lec­tion area, in­clud­ing a more pa­tient-friendly wait­ing room for the out­pa­tient lab.

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