Construction is complete on the new $72 million emergency department at the Whitehorse General Hospital.
Officials say it will begin taking patients in January. Until then, staff will be doing drills and run-throughs to ensure they can smoothly handle emergencies in the new workplace from the get-go.
The public will get its first look when tours are offered in December. The media was given a chance to see the new facility Wednesday.
The department’s layout is based on a “racetrack” model with staff and healthcare workers on the inside of the track and treatment and examination rooms on the outside.
Project manager Karen Girling said the new emergency department has 17 treatment rooms compared to 10 in the existing department. Emergency visits have ranged between 32,000 and 33,000 over the last two years, meaning patients have had to be shuffled around at times, said Girling.
The new treatment/examination rooms are also larger giving patients and staff more room than the current cramped conditions, she said.
Patients will notice changes when they first arrive. They’ll walk directly into emergency from the parking lot instead of through the hospital. When they enter they’ll register and be triaged at the same place.
Girling said that means patients will no longer have to register in one area of the hospital and be examined in another.
“Being seen immediately, assessment right away on their clinical needs, effective flow into the racetrack, actually having a nice spacious room to be located in to receive treatment and knowing they’re not stuck in a back corner where they’re hard to be seen,” said Girling.
She said benefits for the health care staff are using state of the art equipment, efficient design and clear lines of sight.
“Each of the rooms are universal rooms so they are set up in a standardized manner, same layout, same equipment, same location of the equipment,” said Girling. The set-up is also identical to other hospitals across Canada so visiting healthcare workers will have no trouble using the equipment.
There are private areas set aside for…