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Mobile medical unit swings through Williams Lake

Mobile medical unit swings through Williams Lake

The Mobile Medical Unit is rolling towards home after a successful deployment at Cariboo Memorial Hospital (CMH) in Williams Lake.

With the hospital needing to undergo significant renovations as a result of a pipe bursting in -30C weather in February, the MMU team was able to support CMH while also juggling COVID-19 related deployments like the alternate care site at Vancouver Convention Centre and an outbreak at Abbotsford Hospital.

The six-week time period provided plenty of opportunity to get to know the Williams Lake community, and for the community and local care team members to learn more about the MMU.

“Everyone was aware of it (MMU) being here in the community,” says Rebecca Egilson, IHA Local Project Manager of Specialized Community Services Program who worked closely with the MMU team to integrate them with the local care team.

“There was a lot of talk about it as it’s been highly visible and, anything as high profile as the MMU gets people talking about it.”

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s an ICU

One of the topics that got the MMU team themselves talking, was the need to turn the always-flexible facility into a three-bed extension of the CMH Intensive Care Unit (ICU). While the MMU has been deployed to more than 60 sites across the province

Inside the Mobile Medical Unit

and supported everything from primary care, education and renovation support, operating as an ICU had only occurred once before and the team knew they’d need to plan accordingly.

“This was a unique deployment,” says MMU clinical operations director Peter Hennecke. “We did an ICU deployment in Cranbrook in 2012, but this was much longer. As well, this was our first deployment installing a computerized pharmaceutical dispenser within the unit.”

“One of the successes of this trip for us was how we continue to learn more about quickly integrating the MMU’s systems and equipment with an established team’s workflow and processes,” says Peter. “Every time we do something a little different like this, we learn more about our abilities and our equipment.”

While the MMU can accommodate any level of patient acuity, the potential needs of an ICU patient required specific preparation. This flexibility and attention to detail impressed Rebecca, as did the team’s ability to work so closely, so quickly, with Interior Health clinical staff.

“The MMU team threw themselves into getting us up and running very quickly,” says Rebecca. “They helped us do everything from setting up the beds to moving supplies and prepping an additional crash cart. Because of this, we were able to get started on the renovations sooner than expected and even get finished earlier than expected.”

Specialized training a bonus

As well as serving as an extension of CMH’s ICU, the MMU team are also going to be conducting specialized training for about 25 of the hospital care team prior to leaving town. Several MMU team members have some very unique career experiences that make them highly qualified for disaster management training, including time spent in the military as well as on United Nations missions abroad.

“We’re very grateful for their training expertise, especially because they’ve already done the course development work,” says Rebecca.

Learn more about the MMU by visiting bcmmu.ca or following the program on twitter @MobileMedicalBC.

This story was originally published by the B.C. Provincial Health Services Authority.