Hospital design issues still to be addressed

The dirt has been turned at the site of the future regional hospital in Courtenay, but the project is still only in the design phase.

There are still plenty of wrinkles to be ironed over the next few years before service commences late-April, 2017.

At the last meeting of Courtenay council, Ronna-Rae Leonard, who has a friend undergoing chemotherapy treatments, noted concerns about losing a waiting room and bathroom in that area of the new facility.

“That (waiting room) is one of the most important elements to the chemo treatment is that sharing amongst the patients, amongst the support people, amongst the professionals,” Leonard said. “There’s a lot of things that go on there that are key to their healing.”

Tom Sparrow, chief project officer of the North Island Hospitals Project, said there won’t be a loss of waiting rooms in chemotherapy.

Within ambulatory care is a chemo treatment area and waiting room.

“Within the parameters of that large area, there’s also another waiting room that can accommodate folks that have made it through central registry inside ambulatory care,” Sparrow said.

“So there’s actually three separate waiting rooms.”

He notes hospitals have generally reduced, or in some cases combined, the number of public and staff bathrooms.

But at the Courtenay facility, he said there will be three different bathrooms in the immediate vicinity of chemotherapy.

The schematic design review was finished during financial close, which was reached June 30.

The project has reached the design development phase.

In each department area there will be three to six cycles where specialists will spend a day or two going through drawings with clinicians, literally going room-to-room confirming design, door locations, light configurations and the like.

“It is a massive process,” said Sparrow, noting about 35 clinical teams will be part of the six- to eight-month process. “Design development is huge.”

It includes mock up rooms for 11 designs such as an in-patient unit, a maternity room, and a clean and soiled room. Each will be mocked up with exact floor configuration, equipment and placement of light sockets, switches and fixtures. Clinical teams will sign off before construction begins.

The facility will not contain day care service — which is a province-wide issue at hospitals.

Day care was not part of the original proposed business case submitted to the Treasury Board.

“We can’t add additional scope to the project,” Sparrow said. “Treasury Board is very firm about that.”

The next community information meeting about the hospital is slated for Sept. 16 from 7-9 p.m. at the Stan Hagen Theatre at North Island College. In Campbell River, a meeting will be held Sept. 18 from 7-9 p.m. at Timberline Secondary. Technical and clinical team members, and people from the construction trade will be on hand to answer questions. Up-to-date drawings will be provided.

“There’s going to be excellent rapport back and forth,” Sparrow said. “Very open, transparent process, and it will continue like that for the life of the project.”

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