Thursday, July 16, 2015

Revamped Pincher Creek Health Centre emergency room to open soon

Site Manager Jordan Koch in the new ER isolation room
Toni Lucas

In a recent interview Pincher Creek Health Centre Site Manager Jordan Koch said he very happy with the progress of the emergency room (ER) renovations to modernize the old circa 1981 ER. Other areas of the health centre are being used for ER services during the renovations.  "The work is moving along very well, it's on time, and I would cautiously add, ahead of time," said Koch.  He estimates the new ER will be open for use in less than a month.  "There will be ongoing minor work, but as of our last meeting, that was our goal."  Koch is quick to acknowledge the contributions from the community, local government, sponsors, and Alberta Health Services.  He expressed appreciation for the dedicated work of Windy Slopes Health Foundation, who have been working toward this goal. "I would say over two years ago now, they took it (fundraising) on.   This ER has been on the drawing board a long time now.  It's up to date and meets standards of care, and that's important."

New ER main area
The renovations have created some frustrations as there is less usable space until it is open again.  "Staff, or physicians and the public have been excellent.  It's been a trial, and inconvenient,  and it's meant extra work but I think everyone knows the end goal, and they've been patient," said Koch.  "I can't say enough about the community, the staff, and everybody that works here."

Wash up area (T. Gillespie photo)
Although the new area will fit the same number of emergency cases with seven beds, the design offers better flow-through efficiency, a safer space for staff and patients, and will create a better work environment.  "It's a well-used ER, and it's original to 1981, to when it was originally built.  It was time to have it upgraded and remodeled." The new design offers a variety of improvements including better visibility, a supply storage room, and a medication room.

Monitoring panel

Koch explained how some of the changes will affect staff and the public using the facility.  Visibility to the waiting room makes it safer for staff, and a better service area for patients. "That's something we didn't have before, we had no view of the waiting room (from the ER), so we had no idea what was happening."  The new dedicated medication room is small, but contains a sink and will have a key coded lock.  "Before all we had was a  little tiny area in a corner.  Now we'll have storage, we'll have work space."  A big change is having a supply storage room in the ER area. "That will help with efficiency, and time management, and safety as well, as we aren't having to leave."

Medication room
Even at this point in the renovations one part stands out.  There is a glassed in isolation room with the area to put one bed.  If someone comes in and there is concerns over contagions there is an area they can safely go for treatment.  Koch explained there are many reasons that an isolation room is important in any hospital.    Since the original construction in 1981, new building materials and specifications make even the walls a better work space.  In the renovations the lower part of the walls have a plastic covering which makes them both easy to clean and tougher.   "We put it in our two OR's (operating rooms) last year, and we love it."

Koch estimated the hospital employs anywhere from 100 - 150 staff, including health professionals, public health, administration, maintenance and independent contractors.

Pincher Creek Health Centre

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