Lacombe Hospital to get emergency department upgrades

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The Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre’s emergency department will be getting some renovations and upgrades this fall.

On Friday, Alberta Health Services (AHS) formally announced the plans for the $3.1-million project, which they will be contributing $1.8 million towards. The Lacombe Health Trust will fund the remaining $1.3 million.

Senior Operating Officer Sherie Allen, whose portfolio includes the north part of AHS’ Central Zone, said it was through communications with the health trust that improvement opportunities for the emergency department were realized.

“We couldn’t have done it without the health trust. It’s absolutely amazing to have a community support us like that and we’re looking forward to seeing the improvements in the emergency department providing greater privacy and quicker access to medical care,” she said.

“The hospital is such a busy little place and really deserves to have the renovations coming towards them shortly.”

The Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre serves about 22,000 people in the Lacombe area, and sees about 24,000 visits to emergency per year. Renovations and improvements are mainly centred on improving patient flow which was identified as a need for the hospital by the health trust.

A new waiting room area will be developed with clear visibility from triage and admitting areas – both of which will be co-located – and barrier-free public washrooms, new nursing and admitting work stations will be added.

Infrastructure upgrades will include improvements to emergency power and lighting, and other measures will be taken to improve the work environment for nurses and physicians, infection prevention and control practices and overall safety for patients and staff.

Construction is expected to begin sometime in the fall, but the duration of the project and how it will impact patients is still being worked out. However, emergency will remain open and operational during the construction.

“We’re just in the process of figuring out how we want to phase construction,” Allen said. “We really would like to get it done in six-nine months, but we also want to make sure we continue to do what we need to do for our patients in need.”

Plans for the renovation were first unveiled at the Lacombe Health Trust’s 27th annual Lacombe Hospital Charity Golf Classic last week. Since 2010, the golf tournament has raised nearly $200,000 for the hospital, including a feasibility study that preceded the renovation plans.

Jim Dixon Jr., board chair for the health trust, thanked participants and donors for their support.

“We’re incredibly fortunate as an organization to have the support of so many generous donors – from individuals to businesses to groups – who open their hearts to our cause each year,” he said. “I’m so grateful for that unwavering support and so is every patient and staff member at the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre.”

In a release issued Friday, Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman also spoke on the renovation plans for the facility.

“The improvements to this emergency department will have a range of benefits for patients and their families, including greater privacy and quicker access to medical care,” she said.

“I also want to thank local donors for their dedication and commitment raising funds for this project. We’re proud to partner with you to support greater healthcare delivery in your community.”