Health Minister Adrian Dix says the new facility, which is more technologically advanced and triple the size of the previous ICU, will open June 28 on the hospital’s second floor
Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is expected to open a long-promised new intensive care unit with 12 beds next week.
Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Monday that the new facility, which is more technologically advanced and triple the size of the previous ICU, will open June 28 on the hospital’s second floor, south of the emergency department.
The unit will include bigger single-patient rooms, overhead patient lifts, a medication room and a family consult room.
“A new ICU for Nanaimo means more people can get vital, urgent health care,” said Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson, minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.
The ICU was announced in November 2018 with a hoped-for completion in 2021.
A 2013 external report for Island Health had recommended that Nanaimo’s ICU be replaced, calling it “by far the worst we have seen in Canada.”
The 10-bed unit, built in 1970, was criticized as unsafe because of its limited size, layout and lack of storage. As well, it was difficult to move patients within the unit and in and out of the unit, the report said.
Work is also continuing on a new 12-bed high-acuity unit scheduled to open next summer.
An ICU handles patients with life-threatening illnesses or injuries, while a high-acuity unit delivers more acute care and closer monitoring than a general hospital ward but has fewer resources than an ICU.
The new high-acuity unit will replace the current, temporary eight-bed unit.
If an influx of patients requiring ICU-level care arrives, the new high-acuity unit will be able to handle those patients and deliver the same level of monitoring and care as the ICU, the ministry said.
The combined project cost is $60.1 million. The ICU will cost $41.6 million and the high-acuity unit $18.5 million.
Costs will be shared by the province through Island Health, the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District and the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation.
Leah Hollins, board chair of Island Health, said the new ICU will “provide our care teams at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital with the space they need to deliver safe quality care.”
Barney Ellis-Perry, chief executive of the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation, said the organization is “awed and humbled by the unprecedented showing of support from the central Island community who rose to the challenge and donated over $5 million to equip the new ICU.
“We know this investment will positively impact health outcomes in the region, and help to retain and recruit top medical staff talent to the region.”