Mobile Medical Unit visits Elk Valley Hospital

B.C.'s Mobile Medical Unit paid a visit to the Elk Valley Hospital this week.
— image credit: N. Obre

B.C.'s Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) paid a visit to Fernie this week. Parked outside the Elk Valley Hospital Monday and Tuesday, the hospital on wheels hosted outreach and education sessions with hospital staff, as well as an open house.

The MMU can be deployed anywhere in the province when disaster strikes or when additional capacity is needed to cope with emergencies or large scale public events. The 16 metre tractor-trailer expands to a 90 square-metre flexible facility with eight to 10 patient treatment bays and can also support planned hospital renovations and outreach clinics.

“We are equally shared by the five geographical health authorities of provincial health, so we travel all over the province. This is the thirtieth site we've been to since we started in 2011,” explained Jesse Veenstra, MMU manager of operations and planning.

Veenstra said the MMU typically spends a lot of time in smaller, rural communities.

“It's really nice to come to the smaller communities where they don't really get access to some of the educators and some of the equipment,” said Veenstra. “As well for the renovation type support it's great, because you usually only have a four or five bed emergency room, so you can really easily just move the entire department in here.”

She added, “And we love going to small communities; they're just fun and welcoming.”

On Monday, the MMU opened its doors to Elk Valley residents during an all day open house. Over both Monday and Tuesday training sessions were held for emergency and hospital staff, physicians, nurses, paramedics and firefighters. Teck Coal and Search and Rescue were also invited to take in education regarding mass casualty incidents and decontamination scenarios, as well as extreme weather training.


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