Phase one of Little Current ER renos expected to be complete by Christmas

This blueprint shows the layout of what will be the new Little Current Hospital emergency department renovations.

LITTLE CURRENT—The renovations at the Little Current site of the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) are well underway, with phase one, including the on-site emergency room admitting area, expected to be completed by Christmas.

Lynn Foster, vice president of corporate support services and chief financial officer, and Pat Morka, vice president of clinical services and chief nursing officer, explained that the renovations are a nice fit with the MHC’s five-year strategic plan, specifically the first of the three directions, “enhance our patients’ experience,” as well as the first of the nine goals to reach those directions, “improve physical space and flow.”

Ms. Morka walked The Expositor through the change in layout, including senior-friendly plans, to the emergency room. In the new emergency room, patients will walk through the doors directly into emergency, with the glassed in waiting room relocated to the left of the doors, where the nursing station is currently located. A triage desk will be located nearby, which wil allow a nurse to keep an eye on the patients at all times. The registration desk will be beside the triage station, meaning patients will no longer have to make the walk from the current admitting office at the front of the hospital through to the ER. Patients with specialists’ appointments, however, will continue to use the main admitting office once phase one of the ER is complete.

The new emergency room will see a dedicated mental health room, with double doors and safety features as well as an adjoining family care room with a telephone and chairs for family of a mental health patient, or for police officers who may be accompanying a patient.

A dedicated private patient room remains, but the treatment room will consist of three chairs (that recline all the way) sectioned off with curtains. A separate medium-level resuscitation, or isolation room, with one bed is also underway, as is a two-bed major resuscitation room, complete with video equipment for teleconferencing with surgeons at Health Sciences North. Two of the new rooms will also be capable of holding ceremonial smudges, thanks to a specialized ventilation system.

“There’s no addition or reduction, but a different reconfiguration,” Ms. Morka said of the renovations, noting that there will now be more room for staff and physicians to work.

“Right from the start, Pat was engaged with staff and physicians, so a fulsome conversation was had from the very beginning,” Ms. Foster explained.

“We went back and forth many times,” Ms. Morka added.

Phase 2, consisting of the rooms along the south wall (from the nursing station up) is expected to be complete by mid-February.

Ms. Foster said that the site supervisor of SRS, the Sudbury-based contractors, developed an excellent relationship with the ER manager, letting the MHC know if a particular day is going to be especially bad for noise. The MHC has ensured that the renovations did not interfere with patient care, even having earplugs available in the waiting room for those particularly loud days.

“The project is going well,” Ms. Foster summarized.

“And we appreciate the public’s patience,” Ms. Morka added, noting the slightly longer-than-average wait times for some patients, but reminding this newspaper that the MHC is still far below the provincial average, thanks to a dedicated staff and good system.