Corrections made on Oct. 12 at 5:31 p.m.
Leona Thorogood of the Stettler Hospital Foundation presented a delegation to Stettler Town Council to give an update on the Stettler Hospital & Care Centre renovations.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) received $9.3 million towards the renovation project from the Infrastructure Maintenance Program (IMP). AHS, Alberta Health and Alberta Infrastructure work together to identify which renovation projects will receive IMP funding.
The Stettler Hospital Foundation has committed $250,000 for part of the project as well as continued fundraising.
“Lots of that was due to the fact that the Foundation, on their own dime, did a study and pushed a lot of right buttons and made people take a look at how Stettler was a viable option for both the operating room and we supplied the board with a number for the labour and delivery room,” said Thorogood.
The government found Stettler to be a viable option for the amount of people served and the close proximity to Red Deer once they viewed the facility.
Projects are prioritized based on feedback from site administration, staff, and the community, including foundations.
Eighteen user groups were engaged to review the current use of space and priority areas. They identified the Emergency Department, Labour and Delivery Department and the facility’s kitchen as improvement items.
They are hoping to begin ‘ripping apart’ the hospital by December 2018 or January 2019.
Phase 1 starts near the end of 2018 with the cafeteria being reduced to half its size. The cafeteria will be reworked but will continue to be operational while undergoing renovations and construction of a pharmacy.
Phase 2 will start in early spring of 2019 where construction of the Labour and Delivery department will take place.
Phase 3 will start in late 2019/early 2020 and includes the Emergency Department renovation which includes a new entrance in front of the building which improves the emergency department’s visibility, accessibility, security and workflow.
A plan to keep the ER constantly running despite the renovations is in place. The new ER will have one private room, eight stretcher bays, five chairs and two trauma bays and it will see a temporary location in the 3rd or 4th quarter of next year.
“If you have ever been in the trauma room, you know that you can barely swing a cat in that room. It’s because of the size of equipment and everything else. They actually have to put the stretchers in at an angle so with this new room it will be a huge improvement to the health care for those that are receiving medical care,” said Thorogood.
Stettler Hospital’s gift shop will also be moved. That remaining room will become a part of the new ER.
Across from the gift shop is an admitting room which Thorogood considered a ‘waste of space’ as it is hardly used.
Nurses can look forward to a new nurse call system. It necessitates a huge wifi server room which will be shared with the gift shop.
The construction company will be building onto a facility for the kitchen located in the parking lot between the hospital and the ambulance bay.
The kitchen will be abandoned as half of it will become the new pharmacy while the other half will be dedicated to much-needed storage space.
AHS is looking at enhancing rural hospitals. Stettler has been submitted along with one other area for an extra two days of OR services.
“They recognize the ability of Stettler to be able to handle the OR because when Red Deer had the floods and Diane [Palmer, Stettler hospital manager] was able to allow Red Deer surgeons to come over here, pick up the OR’s that they needed and actually found that they could complete more procedures here than when they could in Red Deer because of the efficiency of Diane,” said Thorogood.
Geriatrics may become a long-term goal but not for the current project. The Foundation and Stettler Hospice Society may be looking to Stettler Council for more political support in the future.
Council thanked Thorogood for the presentation.
“It means a lot to us,” said Mayor Sean Nolls. “The hospitals are really vital to the community. It’s so important I can’t even put it into words. Without that hospital – the vitality of that hospital – we wouldn’t be where we are today so thank you.
“I know we talk about the rec centre all the time and it’s important but the hospital is more important than the rec facility and you guys do it so selflessly.”