Chemotherapy services at Mindemoya Hospital to be disrupted due to renovation expansion project

Work is continuing on the Mindemoya Hospital emergency department renovation expansion project.

MINDEMOYA – The renovations and expansion of the Mindemoya Hospital emergency department are in full swing, and with it comes some possible disruptions in service.

Those attending the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) in Mindemoya will see significant changes already, said Paula Fields, co-chief executive officer (CEO) of the MHC, in a release September 22. “These include a great deal of construction vehicles in and around the site and perhaps some delay in traffic in the area. We ask those visiting the facility to be mindful and watch for construction vehicles and workers on site.” 

“It’s moving along,” said Tim Vine, co-CEO of MHC on a site visit The Expositor made to the hospital last week. “The weather hasn’t been cooperating very well for the construction project.”  He explained the emergency department renovation expansion has seen the foundation poured. The decking must be in place before the contractors are able to do the framing.

Mr. Vine explained, “the new emergency department area is big enough that it will be occupying the existing emergency department space with a lot more space being added on.”

The renovation includes a lower level-full basement on one side, and a mechanical room on the other side where the ventilation will be handled, and increased office space for the future, explained Mr. Vine. 

Mr. Vine continued, “the contractors have started preparation to do the inside work for the chemotherapy suite. And this also means we will not be able to proceed with continued chemotherapy service temporarily.” 

“In anticipation of the renovations and expansion, some of our services may be disrupted,” said Ms. Fields. “One of the areas that will be receiving extensive, much needed renovations is our chemotherapy site.” She noted the last day of treatment services being offered locally was September 24. The renovations were to begin on the chemotherapy suite September 27. “Those patients currently enrolled in our chemotherapy programs are being temporarily relocated to community outreach programs and the Northeast Cancer Centre. Once the renovations are complete, those patients will be transferred back locally.”

“The renovations include new storage area for medicines, anteroom and mixing room with larger hood to accommodate larger treatment volumes,” said Ms. Fields. “This is critical to allow the MHC to meet the Ontario College of Pharmacy accreditation standards, safer mixing conditions for staff, more space for staff and patients in the new chemotherapy administration suite and additional chair space for ancillary treatment.”

The team at the chemotherapy program will be reaching out to patients and their families to organize their transfer of care to other outreach sites or the Northeastern  Cancer Centre in Sudbury during this time. “If you are one of the MHC chemotherapy patients, we will be providing a letter to help guide you through this process,” said Ms. Fields.

“We are working with the Northeastern Cancer Centre and with individual patients to ensure there in no disruption in their treatment,” said Mr. Vine.

Mr. Vine said, “we know how important it is to get cancer care as close to home as possible. MHC is very proud of our satellite chemo program, which is why we are investing in upgrades to the space to meet accreditation standards, improve staff safety and increase patient care and comfort. Once complete we will have a much more suitable space that can continue to deliver excellent care to our community. We appreciate everyone’s support and patience through this process.”

MHC anticipates the renovations on the chemotherapy suite will be completed in mid-December. “We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause. We are, however, excited to be able to welcome our chemotherapy patients back to our state-of-the-art chemotherapy suite in Mindemoya before year-end,” said Ms. Fields.

As for the overall renovation and expansion project, “we’re running a few weeks behind schedule,” said Mr. Vine. “But the completion date of 2022 hasn’t changed. We are still active in our fundraising campaign and those who would like to make a donation can do so through our website, and of course they can buy tickets on our 50/50 fundraising campaign (”