May 29, 2020

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ER at HSC will need renovations to handle influx

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/8/2017 (1023 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority will have to spend more than $765,000 to ready Health Sciences Centre’s emergency department for the influx of patients it expects to field once half the city’s ERs close.

Until now, the authority has been adamant that HSC could handle the higher patient volume with staffing changes — not renovations.

WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>The emergency room at the Health Sciences Centre will feature a minor treatment area with seven new stretcher spaces and two new secure interview rooms.</p></p>

WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The emergency room at the Health Sciences Centre will feature a minor treatment area with seven new stretcher spaces and two new secure interview rooms.

The WRHA is looking for a company to convert "support spaces" in the adult ER into an enhanced minor treatment area with seven new stretcher spaces and two new secure interview rooms, with the move-in slated for November 2018.

The plan is based around the authority’s expectation that the increase in ER visits will mostly have to do with people who are "less acutely ill," says Lori Lamont, vice-president of interprofessional practice.

"In our new model that we will be using for the emergency department, we will be streaming patients that have certain kinds of needs," Lamont says. So depending on what people are sick with and how severely they present, they will be sent to one area of the ER or another. Those with minor injuries will be more immediately shuttled toward the dedicated, minor treatment area.

While the WRHA has been saying since early spring it would need to bump up ER services at HSC, St. Boniface Hospital and Grace Hospital after shutting those at Seven Oaks, Victoria and Concordia, the focus has been largely on staffing shuffles. Renovation details and associated costs are just now starting to emerge.

Still, the process hasn’t been without its bumps. A request for proposals that went online about the HSC minor treatment area mistakenly referenced the WRHA’s plans for mental health consolidation at Victoria General Hospital — which comes with its own $5-million price tag — and even the updated version still erroneously points to a 2015 consolidation report about mental health. A WRHA spokesperson says that will be fixed this morning.

A request for proposals for a company to add a minor treatment area to St. Boniface is expected to be available shortly, at which time the costs associated with that project will be made public.

"They don’t currently have a dedicated minor treatment space," Lamont says, "so this is an important and really valuable addition to St. Boniface to enable them to improve care."

HSC and St. Boniface are expected to absorb between 40 and 60 new ER patients per day, she says, most of whom currently use Misericordia’s Urgent Care Centre for relatively minor issues.

The city’s other remaining ER once the overhaul to health delivery is complete will be at Grace Hospital, which is on track to open its $22-million emergency medicine department next spring despite a fire earlier this summer.

jane.gerster@freepress.mb.ca

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