Dignitaries from levels of government were on hand for the sod turning. /VIHA photo
People in Nanaimo will soon have a modern intensive care unit (ICU) at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH), with construction now underway.
"This past year has demonstrated how crucial it is to invest in and maintain a strong public health-care
system," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "The need for a new ICU for the people of Nanaimo was clear, and I'm proud that our government responded with both a technological upgrade and an expansion in size."
The new ICU will be three times the current
unit's size and will include improvements such as 12 larger single-patient rooms, ceiling mounted service booms and overhead patient lifts, a medication room, a family consult room, and a staff break room and rest area.
It will also include a space
for a high-acuity unit, a transitional place where critical-care patients need less monitoring than in the ICU.
"This new and expanded ICU is wonderful news for the people of Nanaimo and surrounding area," said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. "The
community has been advocating for a new ICU for years, and I am proud to be part of the government that is delivering the services they so need."
The current 10-bed ICU, built in 1970, is outdated in its space and functionality. Once a formal request
was received from Island Health in October 2017, the Ministry of Health moved forward with planning, approval and now construction to ensure residents have access to a facility that will provide enhanced care.
"I'm thrilled that the people of this region
will have an improved ICU, which will benefit patients and health-care workers. With ICU demand expected to increase in coming years due to a growing population, especially in older adults, this project is necessary for the well-being of our current and future
residents," said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan.
The new ICU will cost $41.57 million, which will be cost shared between the provincial government through Island Health, the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District and the Nanaimo and District
The project will create approximately 200 direct and 100 indirect jobs.
The new ICU is expected to open for patients in early 2023 and will be located south of the current emergency department.
Hollins, Island Health board chair -
"It is fantastic to see the construction begin on the new ICU at Nanaimo General Regional Hospital. The new space is triple the size of the current ICU, providing care teams the space they need to deliver quality
care for patients today and into the future."
Ian Thorpe, chair, Nanaimo Regional Hospital District -
"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how important it is for our region to have state-of-the-art medical facilities and sufficient resources
to respond to the critical health-care needs of our residents. The new ICU will be a significant addition to our local hospital. We are very pleased to be a funding partner and to see construction getting underway."
Janice Perrino, chief executive officer,
Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation -
"This past year has shown all of us how important our ICU is to the residents of the central and north Island, and we are thrilled to see construction starting today. To date, we have raised an incredible $4
million towards our $5 million goal for the medical equipment in the new ICU. Thank you to everyone for your generosity and commitment to this project."