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Improving patient care in Nakusp

Improving patient care in Nakusp

Mercedes Casley is very familiar with the Arrow Lakes Hospital (ALH) in Nakusp.

Not only did she grow up in nearby New Denver, Mercedes began her health-care career at Arrow Lakes Hospital before she had even graduated from nursing school.

Now, having also worked as an emergency department nurse in other West Kootenay Boundary hospitals, Mercedes is the Patient Care and Long Term Care Coordinator at Arrow Lakes Hospital.

Her personal ties to the community and the hospital itself mean the completion of this renovation project is especially meaningful.

 “It’s exciting to see the project complete and open to patients,” says Mercedes. “It’s going to allow our community members to receive high level care within their community and also allow for staff and physicians to be supported with modern equipment to care for patients.”

The project has outfitted ALH with a new trauma room, triage area, exam bays, space for families and a work area for visiting specialists to see patients. It has modernized the hospital with clean, bright, functional space.

The $2.1-million project was funded by the Ministry of Health (60 per cent) and the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District (40 per cent) along with the added $250,000 raised by the community. The Arrow Lakes Hospital serves close to 5,000 people living in the communities of Nakusp, Edgewood, Fauquier, Burton, Trout Lake and the surrounding regions.

In fact, residents of the region played a key role in outfitting ALH with important equipment.

Community fundraising efforts led by the Arrow Lakes Hospital Foundation and the Arrow Lakes Hospital Auxiliary raised $250,000, enough to purchase critical pieces of equipment, including a patient monitoring system, which will change the way nurses are able to manage their case load.

“It has substantial benefit to our patients,” says Mercedes.

“Patient monitoring at each bedside means that a nurse can monitor more than one patient at a time.”

The fundraising campaigns also led to the purchase of an equipment boom, consolidating equipment and monitors in the trauma room and providing more space for staff and physicians to work.

“We were thrilled by the support from the community, through the Arrow Lakes Hospital Foundation and the Arrow Lakes Hospital Auxiliary,” adds Charlene Cornwallis-Bate, ALH’s Manager of Clinical Operations. “We have tremendous support from the provincial government, local municipalities, the health authority and the community.  This is just another indication of that support – it will really make a huge difference in patient care at Arrow Lakes Hospital.”

Physician Craig Courchesne in a physician dictation area created in the project.

When presenting at ALH, patients needing urgent care will first be assessed in the new triage area before moving into another area of care. The new trauma bay features an equipment boom while the exam bays offer more privacy. Families with a loved one receiving critical care can gather together in a private multi-purpose room.

For staff, an inter-disciplinary touch down station allows nurses to be able to monitor patients and is centrally located, enhancing patient and staff flows through the hospital.

“I think it’s great,” says Mercedes. “It allows patients to receive care in an updated space. They can seek emergency care and we can also see them as outpatients. This gives us more space and the ability to care for critically ill and injured patients in our community.”

“This new space really allows for improved patient care,” says Mercedes. “It has a substantial benefit to our patients. There are enhanced working conditions, increased safety for staff and patients and more privacy for patients.”