The new North Island Hospital Comox Valley.

Comox Valley Hospital opening “extremely successful”

Calling it “extremely successful,” patients, staff and health professionals transferred from St. Joseph’s General Hospital to the new North Island Hospital Comox Valley Sunday for its soft opening.

Dermot Kelly, Island Heath executive director for Geography 1 (Comox Valley – Strathcona-North Island) credits a collaborative effort between a variety of partnerships for the six-hour-long move.

“We had 125 volunteers (between) both sites. We started at 7 a.m. and completed (the transfer) around 1 p.m. There is an incredible partnership between St. Joe’s and Island Health; it was a great experience for patients.”

To mark the final patient moved from the old hospital to the new, Kelly said a bagpiper was on hand to play Amazing Grace.

In total, 94 patients made the move, and Kelly said 126 beds were made available at the new facility, with the capability of having 153 total beds at the hospital – the majority of which are private rooms.

“This gives patients their own space, their own washrooms and a more comfortable patient experience.”

The new campus also boasts an increase in operating rooms.

There were three ORs at St. Joe’s with a fourth reserved for ophthalmology; at the new facility there are six plus an additional room for minor surgery.

“One of the goals was to increase surgical access across the North Island,” said Kelly.

Another new feature of the Comox Valley Hospital is a fixed magnetic resonance imaging machine. In the past, patients in the Comox Valley were served by a mobile MRI unit. Now, the goal is to process around 60 MRIs per week, once the facility is fully operational.

With a goal to increase patient experience, access and safety, Kelly explained the food services model has changed.

“There is now menu service for patients. They can punch in on an iPad, and the menu goes straight to the kitchen, which can be customized to their dietary needs. It’s a great program and it’s new on the Island.”

Kelly confirmed the project – with a budget of $334 million for the Comox Valley site and $272 for the Campbell River Hospital – did come in “on time, on scope and on budget,” and credited chief project officer Tom Sparrow for his work, in addition to the collaborative efforts of a variety of stakeholders.

“This is a true testament to how much the community cares about the delivery of health care services in the area.”

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