All in all, it was a pretty seamless ‘operation.’ Well-planned. Well executed. With a positive outcome for our patients.
On Sunday, June 10, Eastern Health’s Dialysis Service in St. John’s consolidated three locations into one – replacing outpatient dialysis services which were previously provided at the Waterford Hospital, as well as the Health Sciences Centre and St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital.
The last patient was seen at 5 p.m. on Saturday – and the doors to the new Kidney Care Centre opened at 7 a.m. on Monday. A single day to re-locate a full medical service!
To put that in perspective: it meant moving 30 dialysis machines, 28 treatment chairs and patient tables, and 35 offices – along with patient charts, supplies, wall prints – and 140 patient pillows! Anything that was usable – and movable – got moved.
Natasha Cerqueira was the project manager overseeing the transition. She was new to the job – and facing what seemed to be a monumental task:
“Being a new manager and new to the program, the idea of moving an entire unit in one day and having it up and running the following day was hard to imagine,” she said. “I quickly learned how remarkable our team was – we kept a positive spirit throughout the day and just did our best. We made it fun and the collaboration was so inspiring!”
And collaborate they did!
The move not only involved Eastern Health’s Medicine (Dialysis) Program, but also Infrastructure Support, Environmental Services, Infection Prevention and Control, Healthcare Technology and Data Management (HTDM), Occupational Health & Safety, Human Resources, Biomedical and Materials Support, Pharmacy, Laboratory Services, clerical staff, and the Regional Fire Department.
Each team had their part to play. Biomedical set up the dialysis machines. HTDM and telecommunications worked on installation of phones and computers. Environmental teams were on old and new sites to ensure proper cleaning.
In assembly line style – staff packed up and moved equipment and supplies to the trucks from the main site at the Waterford Hospital. As fast as one team packed up, there were more trucks to transport more items. As the trucks arrived at the new site at Mount Pearl Square – another team unpacked and set up each bed space.
“Many hands made light work,” says Debbie Walsh, Director of the Regional Medicine Program, who single-handedly bagged all the pillows! “This move was an example of true teamwork and our success was evident in the positivity expressed by both patients and staff in the days following the move.”
The benefits of the new service are significant. It has increased capacity from 28 beds to 38 – which means an increase in the number of patients who can be treated: from 140 to 215. That, in turn, translates into an increased ability to accommodate peaks and flows in demand.
The new state-of-the-art centre will also house a number of other kidney care services – including nephrology clinics, kidney transplant clinics, home dialysis and a teaching program.
The benefits to patients are numerous:
- It’s more spacious and aesthetically pleasing.
- It’s more comfortable – a state of the art facility.
- It has dedicated isolation rooms and bariatric spaces.
- It has easy access for patients with mobility issues.
- It has easier access when it comes to parking.
- It’s ergonomically friendly, with improved way-finding.
- It offers all services within one building.
“Our new Kidney Care Centre represents a significant step forward in the care we provide to dialysis patients,” said Eastern Health’s President and CEO, David Diamond. “We now have additional capacity for dialysis treatment and are better equipped to meet the care needs of our patients in a comfortable and patient-centred environment.”
Robert Corbett agrees. The retired firefighter has been a dialysis patient for nearly six years. He receives dialysis three times a week, for three and a half hours each time. He’s been an advocate for dialysis patients over the years – and says the new facility is amazing – and evidence of what can happen when everyone works together:
“I was one of the first patients to see the new space and it was amazing – what a fantastic job,” he added. “Every patient has their own area – it’s nicely laid out, with a great design and nice colours. The staff did a fantastic job of setting it up – it’s just beautiful.”
Patient comfort was a key consideration in the development of the Kidney Care Centre. Each individual’s area includes a television for the patient to help pass the hours while receiving dialysis.
The generosity of the Health Care Foundation, through its Peaceful Ports initiative, beautifully furnished two waiting areas as well as a family room – including comfortable seating, artwork, televisions, a fireplace and a fully furnished kitchen area.
“The Health Care Foundation is a proud supporter of dialysis services here in St. John’s and we are so pleased to build on this support now through the new Kidney Care Centre,” said Debbie Patten, Chair of the Health Care Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Kidney disease is a life-altering illness, especially for dialysis patients. We are committed to investing in items and equipment that improve their care and comfort, both through the Dialysis Dash and now the Peaceful Ports Project.”
Staff at the new centre are delighted, as well. The new space allows them to offer enhanced care to their patients in a variety of ways:
- It’s more ergonomically friendly – and thus safer for both patient and staff.
- There’s more room to provide care.
- There are dedicated bariatric spaces and isolation rooms.
- An improved ceiling lift system better facilitates safe patient handling.
- An intercom system improves communication throughout the centre.
Plans for the new Kidney Care Centre began two years ago – and intensified during the past 11 months. But ultimately, it all came down to a single day of well-coordinated teamwork.
An impressive ‘renal relay,’ so to speak – by a group of employees with a single goal: quality care for their dialysis patients. With minimum disruption.
And it was appreciated. The last word goes to patient Robert Corbett:
“Everyone involved is to be commended. Patient comfort has always been paramount to staff – and this new facility gives you a feeling of comfort, in a nice setting. I’m a lucky patient!” ■
This article was written by Deborah Collins, a communications manager with Eastern health, based in St. John’s.