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Old ICU to become paediatric space

With the construction of a new ICU underway, plans are afoot to turn the old ICU space into maternity and nursery services.

The East Kootenay Regional Hospital is currently undergoing expansion with the construction of a new ICU ward.

That begs the question of what the plan is for the existing ICU space once the new project is finished.

That was answered on Friday, when Interior Health, along with the East Kootenay Foundation for Health, unveiled a proposed paediatric space at a monthly meeting of the RDEK board of directors.

"IH [Interior Health]  made a formal request to the board to change scope of the ICU project to include upgrading the current ICU space at EKRH for redevelopment for paediatrics and nursery services," said Todd Mastel, in his presentation to the board. "We can accommodate this change and scope to the project without an increase in contribution from the Ministry of Health and the hospital board, due to the willingness of the East Kootenay Foundation for Health to undertake a major fundraising campaign for the ICU clinical equipment that is currently within the scope of the $20 million project."

Interior Health has to meet with all funders of the expansion project in order to receive approval for to expand the scope of the ICU project.

"By bringing all our mat-child services into one area of the hospital allows us to gain some efficiency of providing service," added Mastel. "It'll be a bigger space than we currently have for paediatrics—right now we have two paediatric beds on the third floor in between our medical unit and our oncology department."

"Bringing those beds down to the second floor and again, having that integrated service area for children and babies will provide us with efficiencies on the operations side, it's a much better co-location and adjacency than we currently have."

John Kettle, chair of the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District, said utilizing the old ICU space seemed like a no-brainer.

"What's really happened, as a result of the ICU change, is we've created an opportunity that IH recognized and then put together a program and a process where we could involve the fundraisers and the EKFH and that the board supports wholeheartedly," Kettle said.

"This is a win-win for the taxpayer, it's a win for all the people in the East Kootenay Hospital District, and I congratulate everyone who came up with this, because to have a new paediatric room, just opposite to the space we just left, is just fantastic."

Fundraising for the event had already begun before the meeting at the RDEK board office.

"We're looking forward to it," said Brian Clifford, EKFH board chair. "We've got a very strong board and we've got a lot of connections through Donna. Donna's done a lot of work over this period of time.

"The intent is to roll out very quickly and work with the individuals that have been there before with us to support this $1 million."

Donna Grainger, the executive director for the EKFH, noted that IH staff and the KERHD board has been instrumental to supporting the scope of the project and the fundraising goals.

"So $1 million dollars for equipment sounds like a lot, but if we think about the impact for what that equipment will do in our region, is simply incredible," she said. "50 per cent of the visits in that ICU are from outside Cranbrook, so now add that with the opportunity to have a paediatric and neonatal unit—it's like chair Kettle said, it's a win-win situation."


Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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