Community members gathered at the Stettler Hospital and Care Centre to mark the newly-completed pharmacy and gift shop.
More extensive projects are on the way, including the hospital’s first two labour and delivery suites now being built as part of Phase 2 renovations.
Phase 3, which will be launched in the New Year, will include emergency department upgrades as well as further kitchen and cafeteria enhancements.
“It’s so gratifying to see this portion of this important work complete,” said Diane Palmer, site manager at the Hospital.
“We have worked very, very hard with community representatives, volunteers, staff and Alberta Health Services. It’s a thrilling milestone to mark,” she said. “Everyone in this room is part of why we’ve been successful with this,” she added.
“These renovations are significant and will have a range of benefits for our facility and those we care for. Like us, I know the community will be thrilled with the final changes once this major project is complete as it will help ensure we’re able to deliver the best care possible in a safe and functional environment for years to come.”
Palmer said the emergency room area will eventually be much bigger. “To give you an idea, we are going from six stretchers to nine stretchers, and three treatment chairs to five treatment chairs. We are going to put overhead lifts in there and we are putting in a room that is a quiet room. Sometimes people are very stressed, and all of the noise and activity in the ER is very stressful for patients,” she said. “We are also increasing our cardiac monitors, our respiratory monitors,” she said of some of the coming additions.
Meanwhile, the renovations began this past March.
Funding – to the tune of $9.6 million – comes from the Province’s Infrastructure and Maintenance Program.
The Stettler Health Services Foundation, which works with the community to make decisions about how best to allocate health-related donations, is also raising funds to support the projects.
To date, the Foundation has raised $250,000 for equipment and furnishings for the labour and delivery suites, noted a release. Currently, the group is focused on raising about $400,000 for the purchase of emergency room equipment as well.
Leona Thorogood, of the Stettler Hospital Foundation, said that, “Even though as a community and as a Foundation board, we have dreams of things happening – nothing happens without the collaborative effect of everybody that is in this room.
“I’m very grateful that we’ve been able to achieve what we have,” she said.
“Every little bit helps,” she added of donations, which are of course always welcome. “So if you think your $25 doesn’t make a difference, take a look at some of these things that are happening around this hospital today and what is going to come. Every time that money comes in, it helps us get one step closer to our goal,” she said.
Once work is completed over the next two years, patients and their families, physicians, staff and volunteers will benefit from improved access and flow, increased safety, more privacy and enhanced quality of service, said Palmer.
The hospital continues to remain fully operational while construction is underway.