Derrick Leduc became the first patient assessed in the new $19-million emergency department (ED) at the regional hospital in Trail on Tuesday when the state-of-the-art wing was opened to patients.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, the Times couldn’t be there to mark this milestone with Leduc and hospital staff.
The pandemic quashed the usual fanfare, community celebration, and homage to all the generous donors and financial backers that such a momentous occasion at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) traditionally draws in.
Instead, a handful of staff gathered outside to mark the day with a masked-up cheer.
Interior Health sent out a news brief and photos to the media.
“The completion of the new emergency department at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital is incredibly important to the people of the region including the communities of Trail, Rossland and Castlegar,” said Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West, in the Sept. 1 release.
“This is wonderful news for my constituents as they will be well served with improved care spaces in a larger and modern emergency department.”
The new ED features a technologically advanced trauma room, private patient exam rooms, new procedure rooms and plenty of natural lighting, as well as specialized spaces to treat infectious diseases and to provide support for mental health patients and their families.
There is also a new separate entrance for patients to access the emergency service.
To fund this $19.05 million project, Interior Health committed $10.83 million, the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District provided $7.22 million, and the KBRH Health Foundation raised $1 million.
The foundation launched its two-year $1-million Emergency Department Campaign in April 2018.
Funding donations will be directed into the purchases of ED equipment, and into respective electrical work still underway.
“Raising $1 million over the past two years is a significant accomplishment and we want to thank all of our donors for their extraordinary level of support,” said Lisa Pasin, the foundation’s director of development.
“We are excited that the new emergency department is complete. These contributions from the community will ensure the ED is equipped to meet the needs of our patients and medical staff.”
Work on the project continues as Interior Health is creating space for mental health services and families by renovating the original department. This leg of the job is anticipated to be complete in early 2021.
The project is part of an ongoing redevelopment of KBRH which also includes a $38.8-million project to build a new ambulatory care unit and pharmacy, located on the floor above the new ED wing.
New ambulatory zones will be created for endoscopies, cystoscopies and other minor surgical procedures. The pharmacy renovation includes a better-ventilated space to prepare medications.
The Ministry of Health committed $23.3 million to this part of the project and the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District is funding $15.5 million.
“With KBRH being a regional hospital, this project was a top priority for our board,” said Suzan Hewat, board chair of the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District..
“This new emergency department will allow for enhanced care during a time when patients most need it. With a focus on the safety and comfort of patients, their families and staff, the ongoing redevelopment of KBRH is very important to the residents of Trail and the entire area.”
KBRH offers specialized services, core medical services and advanced medical imaging services to 80,000+ residents in the region. The hospital’s emergency department sees over 16,000 patients each year.