After three years of renovations, the emergency department at the Misericordia Community Hospital will officially open to patients later this month promising to triple patient capacity, according to Alberta Health Services.
But at least one health-care advocate questions whether the facility by itself is enough to make an impact on patient care.
“It really depends on what that expanded capacity looks like,” said Lorian Hardcastle, an associate professor in the faculty of law at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary.
“We can open more beds and it’s easy to open more beds, but what can be harder are the staffing challenges associated with that. We know that Alberta, the province, the country in general, is struggling with health-care worker staffing, so it will be interesting to see how easily they will be able to staff that new space. We competing with other jurisdictions for health-care workers and I think it’s a challenging time for Alberta to try to recruit, given some of the significant restructuring that is going on right now.”
The $85-million dollar project is expected to accommodate about 60,000 patient visits per year. The 5,500 square meter facility is three times the size of the original department and includes six ambulance bays, 64 treatment rooms, two radiology rooms, five isolation rooms, 18 acute care spaces along with a decontamination suite.
“This increased capacity will help reduce wait times and improve patient experience,” Alberta Health Services said in a news release. “This space is an important step in meeting the needs of communities in west Edmonton. Patients and their families will now benefit from a new spacious, secure and cutting-edge facility designed with their health care needs and patient experience as the top priorities.”
The existing emergency department, which was built in 1969, will stay open until the expanded one is operational. Not all of the bed spaces are expected to open immediately.
“The completion of the new emergency department is a significant step towards having a modern, vibrant Misericordia hospital that will meet the needs of the communities in west Edmonton and northern Alberta for generations to come,” said Patrick Dumelie, CEO, Covenant Health.
The former NDP government announced the hospital expansion project in April 2017. It revealed the modernization would include a new ER, 34 additional treatment spaces, two more ambulance bays and two X-ray suites. When the United Conservatives formed the government, they said the expansion would include space for six ambulance bays along with emergency waiting and treatment and diagnostic services.
The ER and hospital have been plagued with problems over the years including at least two instances of flooding that impacted patient care.
“This space is long overdue,” said Adrianna LaGrange, minister of health. “This is a crucial step forward in our commitment to ensuring healthier communities. Our government remains committed to working alongside our partners, like Covenant Health, as we work to build a health care system that puts the needs of Albertans first.”
Misericordia Community Hospital prepares to open new emergency department
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