Elk Valley Hospital reveals equipment wishlist

Operating room upgrade allays closure fears

Ceiling lifts and equipment used to investigate stomach and bowel issues are at the top of the Elk Valley Hospital’s wishlist for the new fiscal year.

Next month, the Fernie facility will place an order for a new colonoscope and gastroscope at a total cost of $87,000.

About $28,000 will also be spent on installing two ceiling lifts for worker safety and patient comfort.

“It’s mounted to the frame of the building and allows us to use a sling on a patient, and lift and move them around the room and on the bed with the ceiling lift device, so that staff aren’t having to physically and manually lift the patient,” said the hospital’s acute health services director, Karyn Morash.

The hospital recently spent $99,000 on replacing wood surfaces in the endoscopy suite and operating room with non-porous materials such as steel and laminate to improve infection prevention and control.

“We also took the opportunity in the renovation to make some small space changes that make the environment more efficient for the health care providers,” said Morash.

East Kootenay Regional Hospital District board director Mary Giuliano was impressed by the renovations when she toured the hospital last month.

She said the project allayed fears the operating room would close.

“It was always believed that when Dr. Colm Nally retired, the operating room would close,” she said.

“Since his retirement last year this fear has proved unfounded as yet, so the remodeling of the operating room sends a strong signal that it will continue to be operational.

The project was completed at the start of the year and also included the purchase of a pediatric gastroscope ($33,000) and CO2 insufflator ($5000), which was funded by the Regional Hospital District, Interior Health and donations.

“Next fiscal year, we will be looking to purchase what’s called a ‘panda warmer’, a special receiving unit with an infrared light heat source on it for newborns,” said Morash.

“Right after they’re born, the baby goes onto this special warming unit where all those initial assessments take place.”

The machine will replace an older piece of equipment and cost nearly $37,000.

Morash said the hospital had a “fairly robust” wishlist and while there were unmet needs, it was always able to get priority items.

“We prioritize the equipment that we are requesting based on facility, provider and patient needs, and it just allows us to continue doing the excellent work that we do to meet patient care needs,” she said.

She thanked the Regional Hospital District and donors for their support.

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