The first phase of a long-awaited emergency room expansion at Eagle Ridge Hospital means more streamlined care for residents, officials say.
Today (Sept. 21), health officials opened Phase 1 of the $37.5-million emergency department expansion project at the Port Moody hospital.
The changes patients can expect to see include new separate entrances for walk-in patients and ambulances, a redesigned registration and triage area to improve privacy and flow of patients, and a designated separate area for patients with mental-health and substance-use support needs.
But construction isn’t over yet.
Work is underway on the second phase of the project that will add more treatment spaces as well as better infection control, with construction to begin in October 2021 and completion in March 2022.
Once finished, the expanded emergency department will have 39 new treatment spaces, up from 19, as well as four new isolation rooms for people with infectious illnesses and two new trauma resuscitation bays.
Walk-in patients and ambulances will have separate entrances, a decontamination area will help with chemical contamination and additional hand-washing stations will help reduce the risk of infection.
Growth in the Tri-Cities prompted the upgrade, says B.C.’s health minister.
"When Eagle Ridge Hospital opened in 1984, the hospital's emergency department had about 20,000 patients seeking emergency care every year. That number has more than doubled to 50,000 patients per year," stated Adrian Dix in a news release.
"As the Tri-Cities continue to grow, a larger emergency department is needed to keep pace with the increasing demand for emergency services in the region. Our government recognized this and moved quickly so people can get the care they need when they need it."
The new space is approximately three times larger, increasing from 714 sq. m. (7,685 sq. ft.) to 2,206 sq. m. (23,745 sq. ft.).
The provincial government, through Fraser Health, is providing $32.5 million for the project.
Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation raised $5 million.