EKRH ICU upgrades project launched


Only a year after government gave the green light to major upgrades to East Kootenay Regional Hospital’s intensive care unit and electrical system, construction has begun.

“We knew this was a critical project for the entire East Kootenay region, so we made it happen,” says Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett. “It takes time, energy and devotion to move major improvements like this forward, and now people can actually see all that hard work paying off.”

“This is a big day for everyone who made this project a reality. These upgrades to our regional hospital will improve the care we provide to patients from all of our East Kootenay communities,” says Interior Health board chair Norman Embree.

The new ICU unit will replace the current four-bed unit and feature two additional high-acuity beds, which will help relieve pressure on the intensive care unit.  The integrated design includes a 787 square-metre (approximately 8,470 square-feet) addition on the northeast side of the existing hospital. The size and design of the new ICU will provide better flow through the unit for physicians and staff, as well as providing additional privacy. The enhanced care environment for patients will feature integrated family spaces and maximized natural light.

“It is an honour to be part of a project that will not only improve services for patients and their families, but also enhance our health care capabilities in the region,” says Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board Chair John Kettle. “It shows what can happen when different levels of government work together to pursue common goals. This is a proud day for us all.”

The project also includes a significant electrical upgrade at the facility. The new electrical system will improve the power supply to the entire hospital, optimize the electrical system performance and allow capacity to expand for future power needs. The electrical infrastructure will be located in the basement of the new addition.

“It is always rewarding for the Foundation to see the generous contributions of our donors turning into something concrete and real for the patients and caregivers we support,” said Brian Clifford, Foundation Chair. “We are honoured to be part of this exciting occasion.”

“Our MLA and other important partners have allowed us to make many major improvements to our regional centre’s Ambulatory Care, MRI, Digital Mammography and Emergency Department over the last decade and this new intensive care unit will be the cement that holds everything together,” says Dr. Lawrence Jewett, EKRH and regional chief of staff. “A new ICU will reduce some of the need to transport critical heart and stroke patients outside the region for care and will be a great support to our recruitment of specialist physicians to Cranbrook.”

The estimated total project cost is $20 million. The Province is funding $11.93 million, the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District is contributing $7.95 million, and the East Kootenay Foundation for Health is contributing $120,000.

Lark Projects Ltd. is the contractor overseeing the project, with full project completion anticipated for mid-2016.

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