Interior Health has taken an important step towards $750,000 in improvements for East Kootenay Regional Hospital’s (EKRH) pediatric care unit, with the release Friday of a construction tender for the project.
“[Friday’s] announcement means we are closer to starting work on important enhancements that will create an improved environment for young patients, their families, and those providing their care at East Kootenay Regional Hospital,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.
“The new two-bed pediatric unit will be an updated, more kid-friendly space with separate rooms and bathrooms for each patient and I know families in the region are looking forward to seeing the work get underway,” said East Kootenay MLA Bill Bennett.
Currently, the two-bed pediatric unit is on the third floor of the hospital, alongside the General Medical Unit .The new pediatric unit will be in the former second-floor ICU space and will be incorporated into the adjacent maternity/neo-natal unit, which will create a combined Maternal Child Unit.
“This new unit will bring the highly skilled staff and physicians who care for our youngest patients into one area and improve the overall service we are providing to these patients and their families,” says IH Board Chair Erwin Malzer.
All areas will meet current pediatric standards and separate rooms will provide young patients and families with more privacy. Each room will also have a sleeper chair to provide a more comfortable place for parents to stay with their kids. One room will meet airborne isolation standards to support pediatric patients with contagious or potentially contagious illnesses. The move also brings pediatrics into a secure, locked unit.
The Ministry of Health is funding $450,000 of the project, with the remaining $300,000 investment coming from the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District.
“The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District continues to focus on improvements to our regional hospital in Cranbrook that serves patients from across the East Kootenay,” says KERHD Chair Dean McKerracher. “I’m pleased to see Interior Health taking the next step in this important project.”
It was funding commitments in the fall of 2014 from the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary and East Kootenay Foundation for Health that helped pave the way for the new pediatric unit. The Auxiliary donated $441,000 and Foundation donated $309,000 for equipment for the hospital’s new intensive care unit, which allowed Ministry and KERHD to redirect $750,000 previously allocated to the ICU to the pediatric project.
“The new pediatric unit will allow the pediatric care team to better treat the region’s children in a
kid-friendly and family oriented environment,” says EKRH pediatric department head, Dr. Chris Pienaar. “It’s encouraging to know that future generations of kids will also benefit from these improvements, which will allow them to recover closer to home and family.”
IH anticipates a contractor will be selected in December, with construction to begin early in the New Year. The new pediatric unit is expected to be operational by summer of 2017. The former ICU space has been cleared and is ready for construction. IH has spent the last few months gathering design input from physicians and staff to ensure the new unit meets their needs and the needs of patients.
The tender is currently awaiting responses from pre-qualified contractors.