August 14, 2017

Improvements to patient care the focus of WRHA capital investments

Upgrades will support the Healing our Health System consolidation plan

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) today announced a number of capital investments to support the consolidation of clinical services and improve patient care. The investments include enhancements to emergency departments and improved treatment spaces for seniors, mental health patients and the most seriously ill patients at city hospitals. The investments will ensure patients are receiving the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

“Manitobans deserve a health care system that provides them with timely and appropriate care and that follows the best practices that are already working in other jurisdictions,” said  Kelvin Goertzen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living. “For too long, Manitoba patients have dealt with wait times for emergency services that far exceed those experienced in other provinces. These investments support the consolidation of clinical services that will improve access to health services and enhance the quality of patient care for all Manitobans.”

Earlier this year, the region announced the reorganization of health services in Winnipeg. As part of the Healing our Health System plan, patients with similar care needs will be grouped together in locations with appropriately specialized staff and equipment.  These changes will ensure more timely access to specialists, diagnostic testing and treatment, particularly for the most acutely ill patients, and will shorten the region’s wait times overall.

The plan will also improve wait times for emergency care by concentrating these resources at three acute sites to provide 24/7 acute-care, resulting in fewer transfers and shorter wait times. These changes will bring Winnipeg in line with how services are successfully provided in other cities of the same size that experience shorter wait times and better access to care with fewer emergency departments.

Winnipeg will support three acute-care emergency departments (Health Sciences Centre, St. Boniface Hospital and Grace Hospital); while two urgent care centres (Victoria General Hospital and Seven Oaks General Hospital) provide 24/7 care for non-life threatening health concerns requiring same-day treatment.

“These investments will also improve patient environment and the work environment for staff, allowing them to better utilize their skills in the provision of patient care,” said Lori Lamont, vice president and chief nursing officer of the WRHA. “The renovations and projects we’re discussing today will play a major role in improving the way we serve the health needs of all Manitobans.”

The capital investments announced today primarily target renovations to address volume changes and will ensure timely access to the right care when a patient visits an emergency department. Other investments focus on priorities such as mental health, intensive care and geriatric rehabilitation services, all of which are being reorganized in order to improve patient care and the delivery of specific health services for these populations.

These new investments, will cost approximately $19.9 million over the next 27 months.

In order to ensure renovations are completed in line with the timelines of the Healing our Health System plan (occurring between October 2017 and Spring 2019), the following projects are underway with a number out to market to procure consultant teams (RFQ’s):

To be completed in Phase 1 (by Spring 2018)

  • St. Boniface Hospital (SBH) Emergency Department Minor Treatment Area – Minor renovations will take place to create a new minor treatment space adjacent to the existing emergency department at SBH. Evidence has proven that providing separate space for treating the needs of less-acute patients within the emergency department significantly improves wait times. Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg (HSC) has a similar minor treatment space which is being expanded and the new Grace Hospital (GH) emergency department, currently under construction, will include a similar space.
  • Deer Lodge Centre Special Needs Behavioural Unit (SNBU) – A resident care unit at Deer Lodge will be converted to accommodate residents with significant behavioural concerns adding 10 private special needs rooms to the long term care capacity of the region. This renovation will include security features such as extra cameras, locks and swipe access points as well as an upgrade of a kitchen area to maximize the safety of residents.
  • Unit Conversion at Victoria General Hospital (VGH) – Geriatric rehabilitation services from SBH will move to VGH and replace the existing medicine unit. The medicine unit (and its acute medical services) will be shifted to Grace Hospital once the VGH emergency department is converted to an urgent care centre. The patients within the geriatric rehabilitation unit will continue to receive specialized services from geriatricians and other staff at the new location.  Minor renovations to the unit will improve rehabilitation areas and provide space that will accommodate the new patient base whose care is focused on regaining patient independence. Targeted efforts will be made to promote activity and socialization through the inclusion of an open space for active therapy and group dining.

To be completed in Phase 2 (beginning Spring 2018)

  • HSC Adult Emergency Department Renovation – Increased emergency patient volumes are anticipated at HSC once the Seven Oaks Hospital emergency department converts to an urgent care and the Concordia Hospital emergency department is closed. The existing minor treatment area at HSC, which focuses on treating the needs of less-acute patients within the emergency department, will be expanded to allow for a shift in activity within the department.
  • HSC Clinical Assessment Unit (CAU) – The CAU provides treatment and assessment space for patients within the emergency department who require additional time for assessment, treatment or observation, but who may not require admission to hospital. Minor renovations are required to expand from its current six beds to 10 beds in anticipation of additional patient volumes.
  • HSC Surgical Recovery area – In order to add capacity (moving from 12 to 14 beds) to the surgical intensive care unit (SICU), minor renovations to the preoperative holding area will take place to accommodate recovering patients. The SICU at HSC receives acute surgical patients and is the only ICU in the province that provides care to burn, trauma and neurosurgical patients in adult population.
  • HSC Intermediate Intensive Care Unit (IICU) – The IICU is a specialized respiratory rehabilitation ICU that is designed to facilitate recovery of adult patients to get them off of ventilators or prepare patients for long term mechanical ventilation. The existing unit will relocate to a new space at HSC which will enable expansion of the current medical intensive care unit as part of clinical consolidation.  In addition it will allow increased physical capacity for the IICU from six to eight beds.
  • SBH Emergency Department Renovation – Renovations will allow the existing emergency department to accommodate a more acute patient base and additional minor treatment volumes as the larger reorganization of emergency and urgent care is implemented. Current plans (and the existing RFQ) include a feasibility study which will be funded by the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation to review the potential addition of a helipad at SBH in the future. The study is included within the emergency department renovation RFP to ensure that any construction work going forward is compatible with planning requirements specific to long-term redevelopment needs.
  • VGH Mental Health Consolidation – In-patient mental health services are being consolidated across the region from five hospitals to three in order to improve on-site access to psychiatrists as well as provide on-site treatment and counselling spaces. This reorganization will see 52 beds relocated to Victoria Hospital from Grace Hospital and Seven Oaks General Hospital, increasing the total number of mental health beds at VGH to 72. In addition to the expanded inpatient space, a new outpatient adult mental health clinic will be added on the main floor at VGH.
  • VGH Day Surgery Expansion – The intensive care unit and its existing services will be shifted to existing critical care space within St. Boniface and Grace Hospitals once the emergency department at VGH is converted to an urgent care centre. The intensive care unit space will then be renovated to accommodate an expanded day surgery program.