More than $2 million has been allocated to upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH),
The regional hospital board, comprised of 30 directors representing the West Kootenay areas and municipalities, takes a look at a list of projects, during annual budget talks, that Interior Health deems priority upgrades to keep region’s health facilities operating at an optimal level.
This year, the West Kootenay Regional Hospital District (RHD) board signed off on a list of 10 priority projects topping $3.5 million, with most of the funds targeting the regional hospital in Trail.
Upgrades at the KBRH includes the RHD responsible for 40 per cent of the bill, or almost $850,000.
The most significant KBRH project will be the completion of an airborne isolation room in the second floor Intensive Care Unit (ICU) totalling $660,000 and an additional $480,000 is budgeted to improve the hospital’s air conditioning system, telephone software, and radiology department upgrades.
The Trail facility was chosen for the airborne isolation room, which is a significant infection control upgrade, because it is the only local hospital with an ICU, a unit staffed with highly trained doctors and critical care nurses who specialize in caring for the patients with the most severe and life threatening illnesses and injuries.
With the emergence of new pathogens such as SARS and avian flu, the isolation room incorporates new standards of quarantine and can be modified to reflect setting-specific needs.
“The intensive care unit at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital is the regional unit for the entire Kootenay Boundary,” said Ingrid Hampf, acute care area director. “So having this new isolation room will potentially benefit patients from across our region who need that specialized care.”
The project will retrofit an existing ICU patient room into an airborne isolation room, which is essential at a regional hospital to adequately admit a patient that requires isolation to mitigate the risk of harmful airborne contaminants being transferred to patients and staff.
Regionally, the budget includes a $280,000 project to upgrade an outdated nurse call system in a Grand Forks extended care facility, and new sidewalks, curbing and parking lot replacement totalling $180,000 at Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson.
Additionally, a $948,429 global grant will be allocated in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 in all facilities for minor equipment upgrades.
With the local budget priorities in place, the next phase is for the regional district to formalize the agreement by establishing a bylaw that will be enacted in March.