Plans to renovate the interior of St. John Hospital are moving along with a conceptual floor plan now in place.
Renovations to the emergency and outpatients department have been on the cards for three years now, with the funding finally being confirmed last fall.
The project had a set back earlier in the year when the original plans were deemed unworkable by Northern Health.
“What originally happened is we [hospital staff] were tasked with designing what it is that we wanted … and so we took a lot of time working on this,” said April Hughes, Health Services Administrator at St. John Hospital.
“The issue was that once we got it costed there wasn’t enough money in the budget to do what we had originally asked for and that’s when we went back to the drawing board because we were told that our plans were too expensive.” she said.
The original renovation plan included an extension to the building where the current emergency entrance for ambulances is located.
Hospital staff, led by Chief of Diagnostic Imaging, Craig Smith, have now come up with a plan which will expand the size of the emergency department, without moving out of the confines of the building.
The new floor plans expand the size of the emergency department in terms of the floor space but at this time, the number of bays will not be increased.
“It was never our intention to expand the number of bays but it’s always good when you do a renovation like this that you always think that in the future there may be a need to expand,” said Hughes.
She added however, that the four existing bays will have more space between them to increase privacy and that the new plans do include a separate dedicated gynecological area.
The nursing space will also be expanded which will help from a confidentiality perspective, the size of the trauma room will be increased and the emergency staff will be able to see who is in the emergency waiting room at all times.
At the moment, the emergency waiting area is combined with the laboratory and diagnostic waiting area. In the new plans the emergency waiting area will be much more separate and distinct.
Another major plan for the renovations changes the entrances into the hospital.
“Right now when we have a trauma come in to our facility, the trauma comes in through the emergency doors and gets wheeled right through the middle of our waiting area where all our lab patients are standing and our diagnostic imaging patients are sitting so we really want to separate that out,” said Hughes.
The new floor plans will make the current entrance to the hospital the new emergency entrance and a new main entrance will then be built to the left of the current main entrance.
“In the new plans when an emergency patient comes in, they will be wheeled right into the emergency room so it will be much more efficient,” said Hughes.
Hughes says now that the conceptual floor plan has been designed, it is up to the architect to divide up the various layers of the designs and then the various jobs will go out to tender.
“I think the plans are quite brilliant so it will be interesting to see how it translates,” said Hughes.