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New emergency spaces open at Penticton Regional Hospital

New emergency spaces open at Penticton Regional Hospital

Growing up in Penticton, Lindsay Dionne always knew the South Okanagan was a great place to live. A registered nurse, she spent a small part of her health-care career outside of her home town, but always maintained her ties to the area.

Now a nurse educator in the intensive care unit and the emergency department, Lindsay has been working at Penticton Regional Hospital since 2003, save for that quick jaunt to the lower mainland.

“My family is here and it’s a nice community,” says Lindsay. “The hospital has a great community feel to it as well. It’s a friendly place to work. It’s a regional site so you have a lot of interesting work to do. You get a well-rounded experience.”

With the opening of the David E. Kampe Tower in April 2019, Penticton saw its hospital modernized with a six-storey tower and parkade. Once the tower opened, crews began to work on Phase 2 of the project, including a major renovation and expansion of the PRH emergency department.

This November, the first part of the new ED will open to patients with new patient check-in and registration areas, complete with a new process for patients coming for care.

“The way we used to do things was the patient came in and presented to registration first and then saw a nurse,” explains Lindsay. “We’ve changed the process to what’s called ‘nurse first’ so the nurse will assess patients when they come in and we will see where they go depending on their needs.”

The registration process will follow the assessment. The change in process is considered best practice and is being done in other hospitals in Interior Health and right across the province.

“It’s designed so that we see the sickest people first,” she says.  

In planning for the expansion of the emergency department at PRH, Lindsay and some members of the IH Capital Planning & Projects team travelled to a few different hospitals in B.C., learning how they assess and treat patients so they could ensure the new department at PRH is on the cutting edge of patient care.

Everything is designed with the patient in mind and to provide the best working conditions for emergency department team members. The patient check-in and registration area opens Nov. 16 while renovations continue in the main ED, creating enhanced patient care spaces that will see a phased opening from January 2021 to early 2022.  

“It’s going to be a much bigger space. There will be more nurses and staff, more designated treatment areas, a much more comfortable setting,” says Lindsay, noting that patient rooms will be divided by walls as opposed to curtains when the ED opens, increasing privacy and infection prevention and control measures.

Along with the work in the PRH emergency department, there are also renovations taking place in the PRH pharmacy and material stores.