Niagara Falls, ON - The new Ambulatory Care Unit will be the busiest area of the Greater Niagara General Site (GNG), treating an estimated 225 outpatients each weekday once the bright and spacious unit opens in the next few weeks.
A sneak peek of the new Ambulatory Care Unit was a must-see this morning when guests gathered in the newly expanded front entrance at the Niagara Health System's (NHS) GNG for an official ribbon-cutting and tour of the new outpatient facility. A public Open House is showcasing the new area between 3 and 7 p.m. for residents.
"GNG has been under construction for two-and-a-half years and the end result is improved access to hospital care for Niagara Falls area residents," says Debbie Sevenpifer, President and CEO of the NHS. "We started in 2005 with Phase 1 construction of the Jeff Morgan Emergency Department and today we celebrate the completion of Phase 2 and the Ambulatory Care Unit."
The Ambulatory Care Unit and front entrance will be open for business in a few weeks," says Frank Demizio, Vice President of Clinical Services with responsibility for GNG. "We're putting some finishing touches on the 18,500 sq. ft. area and are planning to move equipment in over a weekend so no patient bookings need to be cancelled. We've spent the last year carrying out extensive renovations to make our old Emergency Department a new outpatient area and this new spacious area will be the busiest in the hospital. Approximately 225 patients will be coming to this area for treatment each weekday."
The second phase of construction has involved a major conversion of space, some dating back to 1958 when the hospital was built and other sections going back to the early 1970s. New heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical systems, reconfiguration of rooms, moving of walls, new lighting, flooring and installation of a new nurse call system has taken place.
"It is a great pleasure to showcase the new Ambulatory Care Unit and to be part of the official opening event, and I speak for the entire NHS Board when I say how delighted we are for the residents of Niagara Falls," says Betty-Lou Souter, NHS Board Chair. "About 32,000 patients and their family members will use this new area each year and a centralized area for outpatient services is a very efficient use of space. My congratulations go to the staff, our partners at various levels of government, and of course, the many donors to the foundation, who have all worked together to make this a reality. Our sincere thanks also go to Stantec Architecture Ltd. for their sponsorship of the Official Opening."
Total cost of both phases of the project is approximately $22 million, with significant support from the Greater Niagara General Hospital Foundation. The Foundation has raised more than $9 million toward the total, with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the NHS funding the remainder.
Construction at the front of the hospital may be wrapping up, but plans are already underway to build another new patient care area at the rear of the property. "Right now, we are working through the preliminary design stage for yet another construction project – a Dialysis Unit to serve the Niagara Falls population suffering from chronic kidney disease," Demizio says. "In a submission made to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care this month, we have proposed to construct a 15-station permanent dialysis unit as an addition to the Allied Health Centre behind the hospital. This location would provide easy access for day-to-day use by dialysis patients, thanks to its proximity to the parking lot."
This outpatient unit, estimated to cost approximately $6.6 million, would provide care to 45 patients each day and be open six days per week, from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. "Based on Ministry approval, we hope to get started on this exciting new project by the end of this year," Demizio says.
In addition, a master planning process is underway for GNG. "We are currently beginning this process to determine the master plan for Greater Niagara General Site," says Demizio. "The request for proposals for companies to work on this planning project will be used in conjunction with the dialysis submission and is expected to be issued sometime within the next month."
Fact Sheet - Backgrounder
- Scope of Project – The 18,500 sq. ft. total renovation/construction area for Phase 2 involved the former Emergency Department, where 17,500 sq. ft. of space received extensive conversion to serve an estimated 32,000 outpatients each year. To accommodate this increased patient activity, a 1,000 sq. ft. expansion was added on to the front entrance/foyer of the hospital.
Services in Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU)
- Day Surgery – Sometimes called Surgical Day Stay, this active program now boasts a new larger area for pre- and post-operative recovery care. With 25 stretcher bays (up from 15 bays in the old area) the busy unit, often running from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., cares for about 10,300 patients each year, or 30 to 45 patients per day. The location of the unit is now literally across the hall from the hospital's five Operating Rooms, so the logistics of caring for patients more efficiently, without travel through lengthy hallways, is a bonus for patients and staff. Early completion allowed this part of ACU to open in September 2007.
- Pre-Op Clinic – About 25 people per day will have appointments between 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. a few weeks before their booked overnight or day surgeries.
- Outpatient Clinics – Between 30 and 125 people per day will attend a variety of treatment clinics in the area near the old ambulance entrance. This space now includes six exam rooms, a cast room, ear/nose/throat room, eye room and three minor procedure rooms. Surgical and other specialists will provide treatment services in this area. Some current clinics are:
- Oncology (Cancer) Clinic
- Orthopaedic (Fracture) Clinic
- Ophthalmology (Eye) Clinic
- Medical Day Stay – Five treatment bays and work areas will serve up to 25 people per day for treatments such as blood transfusions and medication infusions. These treatments take several hours per patient and the Day Stay area will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Niagara Diabetes Clinic – Up to 20 adults and children per day will come for individual and group appointments on diet, lifestyle and other diabetes education between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Patient Registration – All non-emergency patients coming to GNG will register in the new patient registration area, conveniently located near the main entrance.