New am­bu­la­tory care space for Carbonear hospi­tal

Health min­is­ter says change good for pa­tients, staff

The Compass - - Front Page - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

A sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tion to the Carbonear Gen­eral Hospi­tal will soon be mak­ing its way to the fa­cil­ity.

A $3.2-mil­lion fund­ing an­nounce­ment was a ma­jor part of the re­cent 2018 pro­vin­cial bud­get. The funds are put in place for an ad­di­tion to the fa­cil­ity in the form of an am­bu­la­tory care space, and act as a part of a big­ger pic­ture for the hospi­tal as it looks to move long-term care into one fa­cil­ity.

Am­bu­la­tory care cov­ers a wide range of med­i­cal treat­ments on an out­pa­tient ba­sis – some­thing Health and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Min­is­ter John Hag­gie de­scribed as a “walk in and walk out” process. Am­bu­la­tory care can see to a num­ber of ser­vices, in­clud­ing di­ag­no­sis, con­sul­ta­tion, treat­ment, in­ter­ven­tion, and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

When the cater­ing ser­vices and cafe­te­ria area on the hospi­tal’s third floor was re­lo­cated as a part of these long-term care plans, Eastern Health found them­selves with an empty room on the third floor, where the cafe­te­ria was once lo­cated – a per­fect place for an am­bu­la­tory care space. While there are sev­eral ar­eas of the Carbonear Gen­eral Hospi­tal ded­i­cated to am­bu­la­tory care, Eastern Health saw the newly empty space on their third floor as an op­por­tu­nity to fo­cus am­bu­la­tory care to one con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion.

“What we’re look­ing at specif­i­cally is things like en­doscopy, stress test­ing for heart pa­tients, chemo ther­apy, with a day surgery area where pa­tients could come in, need to go to the op­er­at­ing room, and then come back to re­cover be­fore go­ing home again,” said Hag­gie.

While the hospi­tal’s am­bu­la­tory care spa­ces are cur­rently scat­tered across sev­eral floors, Eastern Health’s pro­posal, which was en­tered around the same time the long-term care plans were be­ing put in place, was to re­move these smaller am­bu­la­tory care spa­ces, and re­lo­cate them to the one, sin­gle area, in the space that the cafe­te­ria pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied. In 2016, a halt was called to this idea due to the tight­ness of the bud­get, but the trig­ger has fi­nally been pulled now that the money is read­ily avail­able.

“I went around the hospi­tal my­self, along with the ad­min­is­tra­tion, and had quite a lengthy dis­cus­sion about this,” Hag­gie added.

“They were quite keen that this was mov­ing ahead – it would just be so much bet­ter for pa­tients. They’ll no longer get lost wan­der­ing around look­ing for the var­i­ous places. Now, it’ll all be in the one area.”

Hag­gie noted that staffing for this space would ul­ti­mately be more ef­fec­tive for pa­tients as well, as the more fo­cused lo­ca­tion would al­low for a sig­nif­i­cant cut to wait times, as well as a cen­tral registry.

The in­vest­ment for this com­ing year is $3.2-mil­lion, as cov­ered by the bud­get, how­ever, Hag­gie es­ti­mated the en­tire project to cost roughly $5-mil­lion once all is set­tled away. He said this $3.2-mil­lion will cover a lot of con­struc­tion costs, such as knock­ing down walls, re­mov­ing and re­plac­ing doors or hall­ways on the third floor – re­con­fig­ur­ing the space the new am­bu­la­tory care cen­tre will take place in. The bulk of the equip­ment the cen­tre would re­quire, such as en­do­scopes, colono­scopies, or stress-test­ing ma­chines, are al­ready at the hospi­tal, mean­ing more of the fund­ing can be used to re­struc­ture the area to ac­com­mo­date an am­bu­la­tory care space.

Ac­cord­ing to Hag­gie, the project should take up the ma­jor­ity of 2018, with a com­ple­tion date es­ti­mated for the end of 2019, once all the tech­ni­cal­i­ties of adding the new space get ironed out.

“Ba­si­cally, it all comes down to ef­fi­ciency and ef­fec­tive­ness,” Hag­gie said. “Any­one who comes in for a pro­ce­dure or a one-day visit, they go to one place. It’s all there, so ul­ti­mately we’ll have a much bet­ter use of the space and the staff in this case.”

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

An am­bu­la­tory care space is cur­rently in the works for the third floor of the Carbonear Gen­eral Hospi­tal.

WESTERN STAR FILE PHOTO

Health Min­is­ter John Hag­gie said the new am­bu­la­tory care space an­nounced for Carbonear Gen­eral Hospi­tal in the 2018 pro­vin­cial bud­get will ben­e­fit pa­tients and staff.

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