A new intensive care unit (ICU) is one step closer to arriving at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital after the province broke ground on Tuesday.
The new modern care unit will be three times the current unit’s size, said the provincial government. It will include upgrades such as 12 larger single-patient rooms, ceiling-mounted service booms and overhead patient lifts, a medication room, a family consult room, and a staff break room and rest area.
“This past year has demonstrated how crucial it is to invest in and maintain a strong public health-care system,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The need for a new ICU for the people of Nanaimo was clear, and I’m proud that our government responded with both a technological upgrade and an expansion in size.”
The government adds that there will also be space for a high-acuity unit, which the government says will be a transitional place for critical-care patients who need less monitoring than in the ICU.
“This new and expanded ICU is wonderful news for the people of Nanaimo and surrounding area,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. “The community has been advocating for a new ICU for years, and I am proud to be part of the government that is delivering the services they so need.”
A formal request for the upgrade was sent by Island Health to the Province back in October 2017, stating that the current 10-bed ICU – built in 1970 – was outdated in both its “space and functionality.”
With the launch of the construction phase on Feb. 2, the ICU is now expected to open for patients in early 2023.
The total cost for the project will be $41.57 million. The cost will be shared between the provincial government, the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District and the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation.
“I’m thrilled that the people of this region will have an improved ICU, which will benefit patients and health-care workers. With ICU demand expected to increase in coming years due to a growing population, especially in older adults, this project is necessary for the well-being of our current and future residents,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan.
The provincial government says that the project will create approximately 200 direct and 100 indirect jobs.
The new ICU is expected to open for patients in early 2023 and will be located south of the current emergency department.
As for the equipment being used in the new intensive care unit, chief executive officer of the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation, Janice Perrino, says that $4 million out of the total goal of $5 million has already been raised.
The care unit will be located south of the current emergency department.