Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre will soon have a better emergency department, likely by the end of the year.
Work began on a $3.1-million renovation project in November that includes enhanced treatment and triage spaces, a new waiting room, barrier-free washrooms, new nursing and admitting work stations, improved infection prevention and control measures, and upgraded lighting and emergency power.
During construction, the emergency department has been relocated elsewhere on site and remains open.
Kimberley Sommerville, area manager for Lacombe and Bentley with Alberta Health Services’ central zone, said there are still nine stretchers in the department during construction, which has allowed staff to see the same number of patients.
But when work is complete, there will also be three procedure chairs.
The emergency department manages about 24,000 visits every year and serves the city of Lacombe and surrounding rural areas – a population of about 22,000.
Waiting room chairs will also increase to 25 and include some bariatric chairs.
“We will be able to accommodate more people in our waiting room, as well as have a better line of sight from where the nurses are to the waiting room,” Sommerville said.
She said there have been few hiccups during renovations.
“A lot of that has to do with the fact that we’re able to do this in one phase and to relocate our emergency department to a different area of the hospital, which allowed the construction to all take place in one corded-off area, so there wasn’t a lot of down time.”
She said the department has taken over half an acute-care unit, which has reduced the unit beds by four, but bed occupancy levels at the hospital have not changed much.
AHS is providing $1.8 million for the cost of construction, project design and consulting engineering. The Lacombe Health Trust put $1.3 million towards new equipment, support construction costs and establishing a donor recognition display.
In 2015, the trust funded a feasibility study to look at patient flow in the emergency department. The study was funded by its annual charity golf tournament.