Major improvements are coming to Arrow Lakes Hospital (ALH) in Nakusp.

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy joined representatives from the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District (RHD), Interior Health (IH), Arrow Lakes Hospital Foundation and Arrow Lakes Health Care Auxiliary Society today to celebrate the approval of $2.1 million in upgrades to the acute and emergency department spaces at the local hospital.

“Arrow Lakes Hospital supports thousands of patient visits every year and our government recognized the need for these major improvements, especially to the local emergency department,” says MLA Conroy.

“Local and regional representatives were passionate in their commitment to this project, and I’m pleased to see that it is moving ahead. This will support quality care for local patients for years to come.”

Highlights of the project will include a dedicated triage area; two new trauma bays; renovated patient exam bays with improved privacy; new utility rooms; and an enclosed multi-purpose meeting room near the ED for family consultations or waiting space for family during trauma situations.

The scope of the project was determined through an initial planning and assessment phase funded by the WKBRHD, which included direct input from the hospital staff and physicians.

“The emergency department redesign will improve patient privacy, flow, and the overall quality care our staff and physicians are providing to residents accessing services at Arrow Lakes Hospital,” says IH Board chair Dr. Doug Cochrane.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this project for their work in getting us to this stage.”

The WKBRHD has already committed to 40 per cent funding for this project.

“The West Kootenay Boundary Hospital District board is very pleased to see the Arrow Lakes Hospital has been approved,” says RHD chair Aimee Watson.

“As one the board’s priority areas, we’re very grateful to see this moving towards the construction phase. We’d like to thank Interior Health for their cooperation, as well as Mayor Karen Hamling and MLA Katrine Conroy for all of their efforts on these important upgrades for patients who receive service at the hospital in Nakusp.”

IH is also in discussions with the Arrow Lakes Hospital Foundation and the Arrow Lakes Health Care Auxiliary Society about contributions to new equipment for the emergency department that will be part of these overall improvements.

Once all funding is finalized, IH will start the project design in April 2018 and then move to tender for construction services.

It will take approximately one year to complete the emergency department redevelopment from the start of construction.

Work would take place in three phases to ensure ongoing care is provided at the site. IH anticipates project completion by the end of 2019.

“I am absolutely ecstatic,” says Nakusp Mayor Karen Hamling. “I appreciate all the effort that went into making this possible, particularly the unanimous support from the representatives on the RHD board from all communities of the Kootenay Boundary. I’d also like to thank our local MLA Katrine Conroy for her work in highlighting the importance of this project on our behalf.”

To ensure local residents have uninterrupted care at ALH throughout the project, construction will take place in three phases.