A new 20-bed unit is expected to open at Royal Inland Hospital in early November and get patients out of the hallways.
But the other half of the effort to ease crowding that was announced last May — the opening of a new operating room — will take much longer, said hospital administrator Marg Brown.
The new beds are going into the old intensive-care unit space on four north. Some renovations, including flooring and painting, were needed.
Brown said Friday it’s a wide-open space, with curtains separating beds to give patients some privacy.
“It’ll be medical patients going there. It’s where our biggest need is right now,” she said.
“We can care for patients a lot more comfortably and offer more privacy than what we can in the hallway. It’s a really positive step forward.”
Hiring for staff in the area has started and Brown was optimistic that the area will be open by the early November projection.
A request for proposals went out for the operating room renovation last May. Brown wasn’t certain what the time frame is for that project, which involves developing some space in the operating room unit to convert it into a theatre.
That project is complicated because when there are more surgeries done, there are more patients and that means more beds, she explained. The new OR is expected to handle 25 more surgeries a week.
“We’re still working on the planning part of it,” she said.
“We’re also looking at the other services we need to expand when you do more surgeries.”
Even the construction in that area will be complicated, as certain work might impact surgeries being done in nearby operating rooms.
“Even with the construction we did with the new ICU, we had to stop construction sometimes with jack-hammering, etc., because of tricky parts of surgery going on. It’s all those things that have to be taken into consideration,” Brown explained.
“But this is short-term pain for long-term gain.”
Even when the new beds and OR are up and running, it won’t mean the congestion issues will disappear.
“I’m hoping we’ll have less hallway patients and people in a more comfy environment. But it doesn’t mean we can let off our guard or let our steam off.”