A STARS helicopter lands on the Rocky Mountain House Health Centre for the first time after its grand opening on Wednesday. (Contributed photo)

Rocky Mountain House Health Centre helipad grand opening

Patients airlifted to Rocky Mountain House by STARS are going directly to the hospital with the completion of improvements to the facility’s helipad.

Rocky Mountain House Health Centre celebrated the grand opening of the helipad Wednesday, about a month after it became operational.

The hospital built the helipad in 2016 to accommodate the AW139 helicopter, the larger helicopter flown by STARS air ambulance. However, a town-owned water tower near the flight path had to be removed or painted before Transport Canada would allow STARS to land there.

The town dismantled the water tower in the spring, and Transport Canada inspected the helipad on July 26. It opened on Aug. 3.

“It was great to see a long-standing project come to completion … . It was a great day to celebrate with the mayor, citizens and all the people of the health-care centre,” said Mike Lamacchia, STARS vice-president of operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

During construction, STARS air ambulances landed at the town’s airport, eight kilometres from the hospital.

“It wasn’t ideal for the patient. It worked for the time of construction, but now that that’s over, we have a much more ideal scenario,” said Lamacchia.

Lamacchia said transferring a patient multiple times created unnecessary risks, such as equipment falling or intravenous or breathing tubes being pulled out.

“You want to minimize all those transfers for a patient,” he said.

Kerry Bales, chief zone officer for Central Alberta Health Services, said driving a patient to the airport took time.

“If you can decrease the amount of transfers that a patient has to go through you decrease the risk,” said Bales. “It takes more time to transfer the patient, and it does require more hand offs, so being able to have the helipad there is a great tool we have available to provide people with the quickest, most-efficient and safest care possible.”

STARS has made 15 stops in Rocky Mountain House this year. It went there 28 times last year.


Just Posted

Canada’s 150 year ends on ice, but no hockey pucks, triple jumps allowed

OTTAWA — No figure skating. No hockey. No racing. No cell phones.… Continue reading

Banner signing at Collicutt Centre

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Regulator investigating Sears Canada liquidation sale prices: monitor

TORONTO — The Competition Bureau is investigating allegations that prices on some… Continue reading

Liberals push cities to rethink planning with launch of ‘challenge’ program

OTTAWA — Cities looking for extra federal cash are being pushed to… Continue reading

Video: Joshua Frank explains shooting Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus

Frank and Jason Klaus are facing triple murder charges in the deaths Klaus’ parents and sister

Updated: Missing Sylvan Lake women found

Two young women who were last seen in Sylvan Lake have been… Continue reading

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million, auditor general says

The federal government’s chronic salary struggles will take more time and more… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month