Renovations coming for St. Mary’s Hospital
Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian Covenant Health CEO and president Patrick Dumelie, left, is given a briefing of the renovations to take place for the St. Mary’s Hospital emergency room by patient care manager Melissa Berg in Camrose on Sept 7.
Plans for a vastly improved emergency room highlighted Covenant Heath CEO Patrick Dumelie’s annual visit to St. Mary’s Hospital in Camrose.
The multi-tier project will be officially unveiled in a few weeks with work starting on the first phase shortly after.
The project is long overdue, according to Dumelie, for the hospital that was built in 1989.
“The design of the emergency department is not conducive to good emergency patient care and flow,” he said. “Just the way it was designed, it probably didn’t work the day t was opened, and now with the growing demand and the complexity of the patients we try to serve, just the physical space isn’t great. We are lucky that we have great staff that make it work, but this project will allow us to take a big step forward to improve the flow and sight lines and deliver care.”
While the footprint will not expand with the project, the layout of the emergency room will be drastically changed, making it more open and functional for the staff, in order to better treat patients as they come in. Currently, patients wait in a hall until they can receive an initial examination from a nurse and an order of need can be established.
The first phase of the project will cost $1 million and has been completely funded through donations from the public.
“For a community this size, it really speaks volumes to the peoples’ commitment to the hospital and the role that we play,” said Dumelie. “It’s really a great success story of the community rallying behind the hospital to make sure we have the infrastructure to meet their needs.”
Covenant Health will be relying on government funding for the next phase of the project.
“It’s on their capital list, we don’t have confirmation when it’s going to get to the top of their list,” said Dumelie.
St. Mary’s Hospital offers a wide range of services from emergency, to acute care, child care, palliative care, surgery and many more. The hospital was originally founded in 1924.
The visit was also an opportunity for Dumelie to talk with staff at the hospital and get the rundown on how the facility is operating and what is needed moving forward.
“The purpose of my visit today is to help me stay connected to my staff and patients,” he said.
“We have good mechanisms to report so I know what’s happening in the facilities, but there is no substitute for coming and talking to them.”
One issue raised last week by Battle River-Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson was how the potential small business tax being put forward by the federal Liberal government could negatively affect the ability of rural communities to attract doctors.
Dumelie said he had not heard anything as of the morning of Sept. 7 regarding this issue from local doctors, but he had not had a chance to talk with them yet.
He did say rural communities face unique challenges, but that Camrose was insulated by them to a degree because of its size and amenities.
“Although it’s rural, this is pretty vibrant hospital, it’s not small town by any stretch,” said Dumelie. “It delivers a really comprehensive array of services and we want to make sure we are able to do that and continue to grow where the needs are. It’s important that we can provide that care as close to home as possible.”