Shovels are about to hit the ground on the new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH)!
The Government of Ontario approved the start of construction to begin on the new Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) site following the closing of the project contract between EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare (EDIH) and HHS on April 29, 2022.
Please note the following update on the status of scheduled care and obstetrical services at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH).
Starting Monday, March 21, scheduled procedures and surgical activity will resume at WLMH. This follows the latest provincial directive which allows hospitals to reintroduce procedures and services that were paused at the height of the omicron wave of the pandemic. Surgical teams which were deployed to support other hard hit areas during the most recent wave have returned to the site. Providers will be in touch with patients to schedule their procedures.
Obstetrical services will return to WLMH site as of Tuesday, April 19 at 7:00 a.m. The program will return to the same model that was previously in place, with birthing services available around-the-clock from Tuesday morning to Friday afternoon. Scheduled deliveries will progress as determined by the patient’s care plan.
Temporarily redirecting these services in December was a last resort, and is not ideal from a service continuity perspective. However, it was necessary at the time to preserve enough bed capacity to keep the Emergency Department open during consecutive COVID outbreaks at the site. We are well aware of the impacts that extended periods of service redirect have on our patients and people, and sincerely thank everyone for their efforts during this time.
HAMILTON, ON – EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare (EDIH) has been selected as the preferred proponent to design, build and finance the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) redevelopment project.
Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) selected EDIH after extensive evaluations following an open, fair and competitive request for proposals process that began in June 2021.
“EllisDon is a market leader in the delivery of important health-care infrastructure projects across Ontario, with a long history of innovation and collaboration working with public partners,” said Kelly Campbell, HHS’ VP of Corporate Services and Capital Development. “We are excited for their vision to bring this project to life. As we move forward with our preferred design-build partner, we acknowledge and are grateful for the time and energy that all teams put into their proposals to build the future WLMH.”
The EDIH team includes:
Applicant Leads: EllisDon Corporation
Design Team: Parkin Architects Limited
Construction Team: EllisDon Corporation
Financial Advisor: EllisDon Capital Inc.
IO and HHS will now work to finalize contract details with EDIH.
“EllisDon has a proven record in delivering quality capital projects across Ontario,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West. “The people of Niagara West who have worked so hard to see construction begin on the new hospital can be confident in the high degree of professionalism that they will bring to this project, as we all eagerly look forward to shovels in the ground, and the doors opening on this vital project.”
The project is expected to reach financial close in the coming weeks, which will mean that relevant contracts have been signed and a financing rate has been set.
“We are thrilled with this great news,” said Andrew Smith, Campaign Chair for Take it to the Finish…Building a Healthy Community. “We wish to thank all those who have participated in bringing us closer to the reality of a new hospital; our donors who have been continuously generous, the leadership of our Foundation board and its staff, Campaign members, HHS, Save & Rebuild team, local municipalities and Region. We have always believed in our community and have full confidence that together we could and can accomplish the local share goal of $50 million. We are so very close to ‘Taking it to the Finish…Building a Healthy Community’ let’s take it across the finish line!”
The contract cost will be announced publicly following financial close and construction is scheduled to begin shortly thereafter.
Multi-year overhaul of diagnostic imaging equipment benefits from MES agreement
Change has been a consistent theme at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital over the past few years.
From an equipment perspective, the diagnostic imaging (DI) service has arguably seen the greatest amount of change during this time period. With the operating room renovations in 2020 came the new C-arm machine. Then the site’s first-ever computed tomography (CT) scanner opened for patient care in mid-2021. Immediately after, work got started on upgrading the mammography and two x-ray suites.
“We have all been so excited for so long to get two x-ray rooms open,” said Mindy Chmielewski, senior CT technologist at WLMH. “Prior to the renovation, we had two rooms and machines, but one of the machines could only perform a limited amount of procedures. That machine was also very old and the quality of images was not good. It was stiff and difficult to maneuver, which was a challenge for staff and posed significant risk for injury.”
The first renovated x-ray room opened in fall 2021. The second room became operational on February 14, essentially completing the multi-year DI overhaul at the site.
More machines, more efficiency
“Now that we have two fully functional rooms and machines, we can be far more efficient with patient care. We don’t have to wait for the other technologist to finish, we can just do our exams and get patients on their way,” said Amy Tousignant, senior x-ray technologist.
Chmielewski agrees. “When the emergency department was full and we knew we had a lot of patients requiring x-rays, it seemed like a really daunting task to coordinate in a timely manner with one machine. Now, it’s really easy and reduces stress in our day.”
Renovations, upgrades enhance safety
The x-ray suites themselves also got a makeover. The renovation included safety updates to the paneling inside the walls required to contain the radiation. The team also took the opportunity to reconfigure the space to improve overall function and safety, like adding a control room in between the two suites which lets staff monitor both rooms and easily assist colleagues in either when they need a hand.
“You can tell that function was definitely considered when they planned these renovations,” said Chmielewski, who added that the renovated rooms have received many “oohs and ahhs” from patients.
The new x-ray machines are fully automated meaning limited physical force is needed to operate.
“The ergonomic elements alone are amazing. Technologists are susceptible to injury from repetitive motions, particularly upper back injuries. These rooms and equipment are safer for staff and therefore safer for patients,” added Tousignant.
The renovation also repurposed an existing hallway into a staff room which Chmielewski, Tousignant and their colleagues call, “the team room.”
CT scanner serving the community
The CT scanner saw its first patients in June 2021. Since then, the demand for the service has grown steadily. Currently, it is fully booked pretty much every day.
“We get tons of positive feedback from patients, largely about receiving care closer to home and decreased wait times for service. Patients also love the space and compliment us on the suite and facilities,” said Chmielewski. “We have received thank you cards from patients which I’ve never seen before in my career. It is a very rewarding place to work.”
All of the recent DI equipment has been procured through the landmark Managed Equipment Services (MES) agreement that Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) made with Siemens Healthineers in early 2020. One of the most innovative pieces of the agreement is the built-in service component, which streamlines maintenance and limits machine downtime.
“MES has been really good. Each piece of equipment is labelled with a device ID number and a phone number for tech support. If anything goes wrong, we can easily get a hold of tech support around the clock to troubleshoot or schedule a maintenance call. One call does it all,” said Chmielewski.
Hospital under construction
All of this progress does not come without challenges. The noise and unavoidable chaos which comes with construction has been part of daily life at the site for many years.
“Working in a hospital under construction has been difficult. However, when I started here six years ago, it was clear how bad a state the hospital was in and how much work was needed. Yes, it can be a pain to hear the noise and have your workflow disrupted. But knowing that better things are coming, like the two new x-ray rooms, helps you get through it,” said Tousignant, who was quick to add that the construction team has been extremely courteous and respectful throughout the renos.
Diego Gomez knows this challenge all too well. As the project manager responsible for delivering all MES projects across HHS, he has worked closely with the construction team to sequence the projects at WLMH to minimize disruption while sticking to schedules.
“The feedback we have received about our contractors from staff and end users across the site has been excellent. It takes a lot of coordination from contractors, consultants, Siemens and site staff to execute these projects, but I feel like this is an example of great teamwork achieving great results,” said Gomez, pointing out that every project was completed on time and on budget.
Looking to the future
All of the DI equipment will carry over in to the new hospital. The future has been a shining light for many staff at the site.
“I’ve worked at different places but I’ve never had such a sense of team as I’ve seen here. It’s a positive environment and great atmosphere. We all know that things are going to get better in the new hospital and that the challenges of this building are now temporary. We’re a pretty resilient bunch,” said Tousignant.
Today, HHS Infection, Prevention and Control (IPAC), in consultation with Niagara Public Health, has declared a COVID-19 outbreak on B Ward at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH). Less than five patients have tested positive for COVID-19 in relation to the outbreak.
Additional patient and staff point prevalence testing is underway. The earliest this outbreak can be declared over is January 12, 2022.
The previous outbreaks on C Ward and ICU were declared over on December 29. C Ward is open to admissions.
Last year, we started this message off by noting how remarkable a year 2020 was.
It’s safe to say that 2021 has followed a similar path.
Over the past 12 months, our teams across Hamilton Health Sciences, including those at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH), have continued to demonstrate resilience, dedication, and courage serving patients with unwavering compassion in the most challenging of times. Staff and physicians continue to rise to each occasion and meet every difficult endeavour head on.
At WLMH, we saw many staff bring their highly specialized skills to other hospital sites, helping out in the hardest hit patient care areas, and others volunteering their skills at vaccination sites. Some programs at the site saw twists and turns as the hospital followed the government’s direction in response to the unrelenting virus, changing the way our providers deliver and patients receive care.
All of that turbulence did not stop progress on major WLMH initiatives.
For the first time in the site’s almost 75-year history, patients can now get timely and critical computed tomography (CT) scans in West Niagara. This momentous achievement was the result of many years of work by many hands – in the hospital, the Foundation, the community and at Queen’s Park. The site is now also home to two new x-ray machines and a new mammography suite, allowing more opportunity for preventative screening close to home.
As we head into 2022, we are just months – yes, months – away from construction being able to start on the new hospital. Getting here has taken immense effort, energy and emotional investment. It has been a long road travelled, but when shovels finally break ground on this long-overdue project, we think we will all agree that it was time well spent.
On behalf of Hamilton Health Sciences, we would like to wish our staff, physicians, volunteers, families, donors, community and supporters a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season, and what promises to be a very exciting New Year.
Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences
Leslie Gillies, VP, Community Medicine & Population Health, & Exec Site Lead, WLMH – Hamilton Health Sciences
This message was originally drafted for the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation annual Trees of Healthy Wishes campaign.
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks on C-Ward and ICU at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH), obstetrical services will be temporarily redirected to Niagara Health, starting Tuesday, December 14 at 7:00 am.
The earliest the outbreaks can be declared over is December 26, pending no new cases are confirmed in connection with these outbreaks. Once declared over, the decision will be made as to when obstetrical services will resume at WLMH.
The decision to temporarily redirect was not made lightly. The two units in outbreak combine for approximately 50 per cent of available beds at the site. In order to keep the Emergency Department functioning and supporting the community, while not causing further delay to surgeries and adding to the provincial backlog, the temporary redirect was the only remaining option. During this period, the obstetrical unit will be temporarily used for medical patient admissions.
For families expecting to deliver at WLMH during this time, please contact Angela Leslie at 905-945-2253 ext 11436, visit wlmh.ca or speak with your obstetrical care provider for further information. We appreciate your understanding as we work to keep all patients in our care safe.
As always, we thank our staff, physicians and partners at Niagara Health for their support.
The West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) Redevelopment project moved a little closer to becoming a reality as the technical Request for Proposals (RFP) period closed.
Technical submissions include individual plans for the design, layout and execution of the future facility. Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) will now begin a rigorous evaluation of the technical submissions.
The financial component of the RFP is expected to close in January 2022, after which time HHS and IO will be able to select a preferred proponent and negotiate a contract with that team.
“As we turn the corner into the New Year, we will very soon be able to determine and share who will build the new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital and what it will look like,” said Kelly Campbell, Vice-President, Corporate Services & Capital Development at HHS. “We thank each of the teams for the time, effort and energy they have invested into developing their technical proposals for this project. Very soon, we will have the exciting yet challenging task of selecting one winner from the high-quality and unique submissions.”
It is anticipated the successful team will be announced in spring 2022, and construction will begin shortly thereafter.
The RFP was posted at the end of June 2021. The three shortlisted teams – which were determined through an open Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process earlier this year – were invited to respond to the RFP for the new hospital. The RFP package included more than 5,500 technical requirements set by HHS, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and IO, which each team must satisfy in its submission.
“This is an exciting next step towards the build of the new West Niagara hospital the community has been working towards for many years,” said Sam Oosterhoff, Niagara West MPP. “This legacy community healthcare infrastructure will provide care and treatment to many patients in our community for years to come, and I wish to thank all those who have worked so hard to get the new build to this point. The Government of Ontario is committed to working with Hamilton Health Sciences and the whole community in getting the new hospital built as soon as possible.”
For the last four-plus years, Cindy MacDonald has been the Director of Community Programs and Site Administrator at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. She recently announced her retirement which is set for the end of December 2021. She graciously (and humbly) agreed to sit down for a Rapid Fire Q&A session to share some of insights from her career and advice for younger health-care workers looking to take the leap into management.
(Dear Reader, please note that the feature photo shared with this story was taken long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Cindy, like all members of our team, diligently follow public health guidelines, including masking and physical distancing.)
Q. Best piece of advice you’ve been given about leadership?
A. My mentor told me a long time ago: “surround yourself with bright lights,” meaning other people who are committed to excellence and kindness. Bright lights bring people together and help others grow and evolve.
Q. What would you say to someone who wants to get into health-care management?
A. First thing I would ask is “why”? What do you want to achieve in your career? What’s your definition of leadership? If you’re coming into a leadership role for any other anything other than wanting to provide leadership to those around you and support patients and the organization, you may not be successful. Leadership is not about you as an individual but how you can support others to be successful. It can be a very challenging at times and you have to be in it for the right reasons. If your heart is at the bedside, you can be a leader in compassionate and evidence based care, teamwork, advocacy – there is a need for bedside leadership as well.
Q. Most important skills health-care leaders should have to be successful?
A. Communication is very important. The challenge of communicating in a digital world is that email isn’t always the best way to get a message across. How do you ensure people are informed and have what they need to do their job? How to you bring information to people as opposed to thinking they’ll seek it out on their own?
Q. Best piece of advice about being staying grounded in a management role?
A. Part of being a good leader is reflecting and learning, but you’ll never achieve everything you want to do in a role. It’s about doing the best job you can do and making positive change for those around you.
Q. Any leadership myths you’d like to dispel?
A. People sometimes think when you take on leadership positions that you need to change, but you don’t. What you do need to be is authentic and stay true to yourself.
Q. Best part about your time at WLMH?
A. The team who come in every day and provide the best care possible for patients. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work in a community hospital for the first time in my career. I’m honoured to be of service to the community, and grateful for being part of the exciting conversations about the new hospital.
Q. Plans for retirement?
A. Lots. But after 36 years of working full time in health care, I’m looking forward to what life wants to show me next.
The latest upgrade to diagnostic services at Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) is new state-of-the-art mammography equipment that provides routine 2D mammography as well as 3D imaging, also called tomosynthesis.
Mammography technologists at WLMH started using the new machine — a GE model called the Pristina — earlier this month. It replaces the hospital’s aging mammography machine, and is part of upgrades through Managed Equipment Services (MES).
The HHS Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre’s CIBC Breast Assessment Centre (BAC) in Hamilton received three of the same model of machines.
“WLMH now has a top-of-the-line mammography machine with all the bells and whistles to perform screening mammograms, diagnostic studies in people with breast concerns and tomosynthesis,” says Dr. Kavita Dhamanaskar, an HHS radiologist with expertise in breast imaging. Dhamanaskar was part of the MES team that was instrumental in bringing the new machines to WLMH and the BAC.
The new machines provide traditional 2D digital mammography for routine breast screening as well as leading-edge 3D technology. With 2D mammography, two x-ray images are taken – one from the top of the breast and one from the side. The 3D mammography provides a more detailed look by obtaining a set of breast images at different angles. Radiologists recommend tomosynthesis views when a person is recalled for further evaluation of abnormal findings on routine mammogram. This more advanced 3D scan can also be used for screening people with dense breasts.
Improved experience for patients and staff
Until this month, WLMH patients needing detailed assessment or extra views were sent to the BAC. “Now these patients can have complete diagnostic assessment right here in Grimsby instead of travelling into Hamilton,” says WLMH clinical manager Bethany Hancocks, whose responsibilities include diagnostic imaging.
Patients have shared that they’re pleased with the new machine, which is designed to provide a more comfortable experience, says WLMH mammography technologist Natasha Brandel. It’s also more user friendly for technologists, provides higher-quality scans than its predecessor, and is faster.
It has been a big year for diagnostics at WLMH, with a new CT scanner added in summer and now the new mammography machine. It’s all part of a plan to replace and upgrade most of the site’s diagnostic imaging fleet.
Ontario Breast Screening Program
WLMH is home to an Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) site, serving West Niagara and Hamilton residents. The OBSP offers free mammograms to people ages 50 to 74 as part of their routine health care. It’s recommended that most women in this age group get a mammogram every two years since early detection can catch breast cancer when it’s small and is easier to treat.
Anyone in the 50 to 74 year age group who’s due or overdue for a mammogram is encouraged to book their own appointment by phone at an OBSP site that’s most convenient for them. A referral is not necessary, although appointments can also be booked through a person’s primary care provider.
This year, due to delays caused by the pandemic, women aged 75 can also book their own appointment. Outside of the provincial breast screening program, women over 75 and under 50 can book through their primary care provider if screening is deemed necessary due to personal circumstances such as a family history.
“Now is the perfect time for people who are due or overdue to book their mammogram,” says Dhamanaskar.
For Dr. Andrea Mosher, coming to West Lincoln Memorial Hospital is a bit of a homecoming.
“This opportunity at WLMH is somewhat full circle for me,” said Dr. Mosher, WLMH’s newest obstetrician and gynecologist. “I grew up in Niagara Falls, did my undergrad at Queens University, went to medical school in Calgary, and took my residency in Hamilton. I am excited for this opportunity to come back to the Niagara community.”
At a young age, Dr. Mosher set her sights on a career in medicine. Influenced by a family friend who was a physician practicing obstetrics in a low-risk birthing environment, she started considering a similar path for herself.
“Being a doctor was always a dream of mine. When I was in medical school I did rotations in obstetrics and I was then matched into the residency program. It’s an honour to be part of families’ birthing experiences and help them welcome a new life into their family and world,” she said.
Dr. Mosher is currently practicing at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. She officially starts at WLMH on October 1. The community medical model in place at West Lincoln will be a change, but a welcomed opportunity to practice in a different care environment with new colleagues.
“The model is unique as it allows you to interact with many other providers from the hospital and community. This presents a great opportunity for continued collaboration and growth because it always keeps you learning and encourages experience sharing with each other. It’s very important to me that I’m always advancing but also helping others advance as well,” noted Dr. Mosher.
In addition to her expert clinical skills and experience, she brings another personal yet critical element to her practice which enhances her interaction with patients during their journey to parenthood.
“I’m a mother of two young boys. This is an important piece of who I am but also how I engage with my patients. Having my children let me learn what it was like from a patient’s perspective and where appropriate, I bring this into my work. While it’s definitely not a requirement for practicing obstetrics, personally, I feel like it helps me connect with new and expecting moms and parents,” she explains.
Dr. Mosher is also a practicing gynecologist and will continue this work at WLMH. Through her appointment at McMaster University, Dr. Mosher’s current research focuses on endometriosis – a common but underdiagnosed condition where endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus – with the goal of expanding knowledge of the symptoms toward earlier diagnosis and treatment.
When asked if she had a preference between her two specialties, she gave a considered chuckle before responding.
“I like to say: I came to the specialty for the obstetrics and stayed for the gynecology,” she said. “I really love them both and I think they complement each other well. I am excited to see that gynecology has significant [operating room] time allocated at WLMH and it will be great to get in there work through some of the backlog caused by the pandemic. Being able to help fill a clinical need for a community is humbling.”
The obstetrics program has been temporarily redirected to Niagara Health following a provincial directive earlier in the year which paused scheduled care and facilitated the redeployment of hospital staff to critical care and other clinical areas hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. WLMH staff who contributed to this response have since returned to the site.
Separately, in the past year, two of the site’s three obstetricians have departed to pursue professional opportunities abroad. Dr. Nwachukwu [ChuChu] Nwebube who leads WLMH’s obstetrics and gynecology department has remained steadfast in his role and has been the sole obstetrician/gynecologist on site for a number of months.
From an operations perspective, there are three essential pieces needed to run an obstetrics and gynecology program: operating room (OR) staff and OR availability, obstetrics staff, and obstetricians/gynecologists. Dr. Mosher’s arrival is a big step toward fulfilling the physician complement and resuming obstetrical care at the site starting October 5.
“We’re grateful to staff who took on different roles to help out across Hamilton Health Sciences sites during the pandemic, but we’re also really glad to have them back at the site,” said Cindy MacDonald, director of community programs and WLMH site administrator. “Our OR and obstetrical staffing has been stabilized. Dr. Mosher is passionate to work in the community and her arrival is an opportunity to rejuvenate the program. We’re excited for her to start, and at the same time we’re all incredibly thankful to Dr. Nwebube for his dedication and commitment to our patients and the program.”
Arguably, no one at WLMH is more eager for Dr. Mosher’s arrival than Dr. Nwebube.
“Over the last year, we’ve worked through the loss of two obstetricians and it’s very promising to welcome Dr. Mosher to the team,” he said. “She brings great expertise and talents to the program and to our patients. Her contributions will be important as we serve patients in the current building, but also as we transition to the new hospital and restore the program to its former glory and beyond. In addition to her clinical practice, she’s also an accomplished researcher and we’re looking forward to her bringing this important element to the care we provide.”
With the birthing program set to resume, consideration needs to be given that the COVID-19 pandemic is still very unpredictable in the community and the government-driven response which may be needed in the coming months is yet unknown. However, most people at the site are now looking a little farther down the road; to the opening of the new hospital.
“The promise of the new hospital holds a lot of potential,” said Dr. Mosher, who noted the prospect of a rebuilt WLMH played into her decision to accept this role. “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to work in a new facility which is being built with community growth in mind and patient care at the centre of everything. Also, the new hospital will let us further grow the obstetrics program and provide long-term stability for patients in the community.”
The WLMH redevelopment is currently in Stage 4 of the planning process, with the Request For Proposals (RFP) currently out to tender. Shovels are looking to hit the ground in June 2022.
Obstetrics services at WLMH will resume starting October 5, supporting deliveries from Tuesday morning to Friday afternoon.
Outside of these hours of operation, women in labour or requiring assessment will be redirected to deliver at the St. Catharines site of Niagara Health (NH).
This is the same model that was in place prior to the provincial directive earlier this year which temporarily paused scheduled care to allow hospital staff and physicians to support clinical areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our obstetricians and family physicians will retain their privileges at both hospitals, allowing continuity of care for patients. In situations where WLMH physicians are not able to attend a delivery, the patient will be under the care of the NH obstetrician on call
Once again, the obstetrics service resumption will be assessed on an ongoing basis to determine if and how it can be extended. The goal is to provide as many hours of obstetrics services as possible, as long as its sustainable from a staffing and resourcing perspective to do so.
Hamilton Health Sciences is grateful for our ongoing partnership with NH and its team who continue to make this service arrangement possible until obstetrics services can fully resume at WLMH. We also appreciate the flexibility and professionalism our staff and physicians have demonstrated during this period of transition.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued at the very end of June, meaning the three teams vying for the project have all of the requirements needed to complete their bids.
For the redevelopment team which has been working furiously throughout the planning phases to get this project over the finish line, it’s a chance to take stock of all their efforts.
“This is an exciting part of the development process,” said Bart DeVries, director of redevelopment at Hamilton Health Sciences. “Our team has spent the better part of two years consulting and planning for the new hospital. Now we’re at the stage where we get to see that hard work materialize in the plans being developed by the design-build teams competing to win the project.”
While this is a relatively quiet period in terms of public milestones and updates, lots of work is happening behind the scenes.
“Together with Infrastructure Ontario, we meet with each bid team on almost a weekly basis. Some of these meetings are a few hours in duration to cover their progress on schedules, IT and equipment planning, etc. In August, September, and October there are all-day meetings with each team where they share their current design iterations and walk us through their plans at each stage,” said DeVries, noting that each meeting is attended by an impartial “fairness monitor” to ensure that any information provided by the hospital to one bidder is shared equally with the others.
These meetings are an important part of the development process. They allow each design-build team to receive feedback on its designs in real time and have dialogue with the hospital. The meetings also provide the opportunity to raise red flags if there are potential issues or concerns on either side of the table.
“The RFP includes over 5,500 specific and unique requirements associated with the project. Documentation is provided to the bid teams after each design presentation session outlining which requirements have been satisfactorily met, and those that have not. As you can imagine, many questions come up throughout the process. Between regular meetings with the bidders, and request for information (RFI) requests, all parties have the ability to interact with our requirements and ultimately identify solutions, even though their design is unique from others. Where warranted, we revise some of our requirements to respond to innovations and other changes that will benefit the project,” said DeVries.
“With all projects, especially those which move as fast as the WLMH rebuild is moving, it’s always better to address matters up front so that teams can progress their designs quickly and allow us to minimize what needs to be resolved in the end,” he added.
The regular dialogue also lets the hospital’s team get to know each of the potential design-build teams. The new hospital will take between two and three years to build. It’s important to start building relationships and understanding each team’s dynamics.
“The relationship between the design-build team and the hospital and its planning, design and conformance (PDC) team is critical for the success of any project. Building rapport starts on day one and it’s nice for both sides to get to know each other early on,” noted DeVries.
Meetings with design-build teams will continue until late October 2021. Technical (“design”) submissions for the RFP are due at the end of November 2021. RFP financial (“cost”) submissions are due early January 2022. Evaluation of each will take place and the successful proponent will be announced sometime in March 2022. Shovels are expected to hit the ground by June 2022.
Annual cycle sees three members complete terms of service
Hamilton Health Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of David Lazzarato as the Chair of the Board of Directors and to welcome several new directors to the Board.
David Lazzarato is an experienced Board leader with accomplishments in both non-profit and corporate governance roles. He is a past member and Chair of the Board of Governors of McMaster University, and served as the Chair of the Council of Chairs of Ontario Universities. He is also a past Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Trillium Health Foundation. David’s corporate management career includes senior leadership roles with Bell Canada Enterprises Inc., CAE, Allstream and Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc.
We are pleased to welcome the following new directors: Hila Taraky; Dr. Allison Sekuler; and Debbie Zimmerman. We also wish to thank the following individuals for their leadership and service on the Board: Charles Criminisi; Richard Koroscil; and Dr. Terry Shields.
2021/22 HHS Board of Directors
David Lazzarato, Chair David Collie, Vice Chair Indy Butany-DeSouza Catherine Gaulton Rob Galaski William Laidlaw Scott Maki Jane Milanetti Andrea McKinney Keith Monrose Dr. Allison Sekuler Hila Taraky Shirley Thomas-Weir Mary Volk Debbie Zimmerman
Ex officio Dr. Deepak Dath – President, Medical Staff Association Dr. Smita Halder – Chair, Medical Advisory Committee Ms. Kirsten Krull – Vice President, Quality & Performance & Chief Nursing Executive Mr. Rob MacIsaac – President & CEO Dr. Paul O’Byrne – Dean & Vice President, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Summer is in full swing, and so is construction on the WLMH mammography and x-ray rooms.
The current machines have been well used and have now reached the end of their useable lifespan. Upgrades are needed to the rooms before the updated, top-of-the-line equipment can be installed.
Construction is well underway on the mammography room. The room is on-track to receive the machine the first week of September, with it being ready for patients by the end of September.
Demolition is also taking place on the first of the two x-ray rooms, to allow for continuity of service. X-ray machines use and produce more radiation than mammography, so the construction will follow a similar path as the computed tomography (CT) suite preparation. The first room will be open early October and work will start on the second at that time, reopening later this year.
Today, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Hamilton Health Sciences have invited three teams to respond to a request for proposals (RFP) to design, build and finance the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital redevelopment project.
The three teams were prequalified based on criteria identified in a request for qualifications process that began in November 2020. Selection criteria included design and construction capability, experience, qualified personnel and financial capacity to undertake a project of this size and scope.
“With the posting of the RFP, the three teams who were previously shortlisted now have everything they need to develop their bids,” said Kelly Campbell, HHS vice-president of corporate services and capital development. “We are excited by the caliber of the teams and are confident each submission will bring a unique vision for the rebuilt hospital. Together with our partners at Infrastructure Ontario, we look forward to working with each team over the coming months, and ultimately choosing the group who will deliver the hospital for the community.”
The prequalified teams and their prime team members are:
AMICO SACYR ALLIANCE • Applicant Lead: Amico Design Build Inc. (50%), Sacyr Construction S.A (50%) • Design Team: IBI Group Architects Canada • Construction Team: Amico Design Build Inc. (50%), Sacyr Construction S.A (50%) • Financial Advisor: Operis Business Engineering Limited
ELLISDON INFRASTRUCTURE HEALTHCARE • Applicant Leads: EllisDon Corporation • Design Team: Parkin Architects Limited • Construction Team: EllisDon Corporation • Financial Advisor: EllisDon Capital Inc.
POMERLEAU HEALTHCARE PARTNERS • Applicant Lead: Pomerleau Inc. • Design Team: Cumulus Architects Inc, WalterFedy • Construction Team: Pomerleau Inc. • Financial Advisor: Pomerleau Inc.
“The release of the RFP for WLMH is a key milestone towards the new build,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP, Niagara West. “This is great news for West Niagara, and the speed with which we have arrived at this point from the initial commitment to a new build being made in October 2018, testifies to the huge desire to see this new build in the community. I have appreciated working with HHS, Minister Elliott, and the community on this key community infrastructure project, and it is exciting to see us get to this place. West Niagara has been waiting for a long time to see our new hospital, and today’s release of the RFP is very good news.”
Teams will now begin preparing proposals that detail how they will deliver the project. Once technical submissions are received by the end of November 2021, Infrastructure Ontario and Hamilton Health Sciences will evaluate the proposals, select a preferred team and then negotiate a final contract. A successful bidder is expected to be announced in spring 2022.
Pictures are worth a thousand words. We’ve taken many opportunities over the past 9 months to capture different stages of the development – from office space to CT suite. Check out this stunning transformation.
Sarah Romeril has held a variety of roles across her 11 years of nursing practice. She started her career working at the Hamilton General Hospital site before moving to a position in the Emergency Department (ED) at Joseph Brant Hospital all the while working at Carpenter Hospice in Burlington. When a nurse clinician position opened up with the Niagara West Palliative Care Team (NWPCT) in 2018, she saw a wonderful opportunity. For Romeril, who holds a Masters of Nursing degree and is specialty certified, the holistic, patient-centred nature of palliative care drew her practice toward this speciality. Sarah is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the School of Nursing at McMaster University and an Associate Member of the Division of Palliative Care hosted by Department of Family Medicine which serves the whole Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. She is also a member of palliative care nursing associations regionally, provincially and nationally.
What led you to pursue a career in palliative care?
I held student placements during my undergraduate studies and remember feeling like palliative care is an area which deserved more system-level focus and improvement. Patients come to the ED with complex illnesses, some with multiple admissions and struggle to navigate the system. Over time there can be real sense of a loss of identity within standardized care. I felt there were opportunities to improve the care experience for patients, particularly with earlier integration of palliative care. Practicing palliative care gives me the privilege to care for patients and families across all age groups, with varieties of illnesses, to help personalize their end-of-life journeys and improve their quality of life.
Tell us about the Niagara West Palliative Care Team, how it operates and the services it provides:
The NWPCT is a population-based shared care model providing comprehensive palliative care to patients with life-limiting illnesses. We’re an interprofessional team of two physicians, the nurse clinician role, a navigator, two counsellors, and home and community care coordinators; we are a teaching team providing educational opportunity and support to learners. We believe in meeting the patient where they are at and we work across care settings throughout West Niagara. This means we follow patients across their journey including hospital, home, long-term care, retirement homes and/or hospice. We are well partnered and integrated within the system locally and regionally.
The NWPCT model is integrated within other health-care models delivered at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital, which focuses on primary care capacity building. We partner with primary care physicians and nurses to help them grow their palliative care skills and provide customized support.
What does a day in the life of a palliative care nurse clinician look like?
No two days are the same. We work together as a team to ensure we have holistically met the needs of patients and families. Clinically, we spend a lot of time in the community consulting with and caring for patients. Our work involves providing comprehensive clinical services such as pain and symptom management. It involves system navigation, making patients aware of available services and helping connect them with what they need. We help patients and their families with advance care planning to determine their end-of-life needs and wishes. We also offer psycho-spiritual support to patients to help them and their families through the journey, including bereavement support. It’s an honour to be able to help people fulfil their end-of-life goals, while being there to support the family through the process as well.
This role also includes opportunity to integrate principles of advance practice nursing through innovation, education and facilitate systems level advocacy and support.
What’s your philosophy toward palliative care?
Every person should have access to palliative care to support their journey with a life-limiting illness. Early integration of high-quality, comprehensive palliative care is critical to achieving this vision. Evidence shows that early integration can improve outcomes and quality of life. It also helps to removes the burden of navigating the health care system while personalizing the patient’s care.
The NWPCT values and is grateful for its strong relationships with many partners, both local and across the region, which help ensure Niagara West residents’ needs are being met. This includes primary care, home and community care, McNally House Hospice, Rose Cottage, emergency services and WLMH. The community of care providers in West Niagara is amazing.
What are three things you feel people should know about palliative care?
Patients live longer and better with early integration of palliative care.
Palliative care should be available to all Canadians when facing life-limiting illness
Palliative care is more than just end-of-life care and it includes a focus on quality of life and living well throughout an illness journey
WLMH is currently in the planning stages toward being rebuilt. Will the new WLMH enhance the NWPCT’s ability to serve patients?
Our team has been involved in the planning for the new hospital. We’re looking forward to new opportunities in the future hospital to further develop and create new partnerships with other care providers. The team is committed to new innovations and opportunities to meet emerging needs of the West Niagara community, which is home to one of the fastest-aging populations in Ontario.
We’re also looking forward to some of the technology that will be in place when the new hospital opens. Our team works out in the community and collaborates with a variety of care providers for each patient. Some of the new technologies being brought in like Odyssey (the initiative to operationalize HHS’ incoming hospital information system) will give increased access to real-time information, system access and communication with other care providers. Tools like this can enhance the way care providers work and the care we can provide to our patients.
Q. The Stage 3 submission was sent to the Ministry of Health in late March for approval. Where does that currently stand?
A. Our team has been engaged in discussion with the Ministry about the submission. This is normal. Everyone is working toward the same goal of planning and building a great hospital. All parties are working as fast as possible to achieve that goal.
Q. When do we anticipate Stage 3 approval?
A. Approval is expected imminently.
Q. What happens after the Stage 3 submission is approved?
A. Refining the RFP documents has continued since the Stage 3 plan was submitted. The Stage 4A (Approval to Request for Proposal) was submitted to the Ministry on May 28. Final revisions and reviews will continue into mid-June, and we are also preparing for the tendering period.
Q. When will the RFP for the design-build team be posted?
A. Ministry direction is to post the RFP on June 28, which is almost a week earlier than originally scheduled.
A. The three design-build team candidates will receive the tender documents on June 28. This launches us into formal design presentations from each team as they develop their proposals. Those presentations are followed up with design documents which will be checked for compliance and feedback, and then returned to the teams to progressively elaborate on their designs. This will continue until the proposals are received late fall 2021 at which point there is an extensive evaluation and negotiation process with the preferred proponent, leading to a contract to design-build-finance the project.
Q. What happens during the RFP period? Is there any contact between the hospital and the bidding teams?
A. There are regular touchpoints between the hospital, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and the three individual teams while the RFP is posted. These conversations will inform the teams’ bids. The procurement process will be overseen by a third-party to ensure transparency and confidentiality are maintained.
Planning is underway across Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) – including at WLMH – to resume these services in a phased and equitable way. Ontario hospitals are required to maintain heightened levels of critical care and other ward capacity to respond to the ongoing pandemic.
Despite the positive trend in cases in our region, HHS sites and staff continue to play a large role in caring for some of the province’s sickest COVID-positive patients. At the same time, care is continuing for patients who no longer have COVID-19 but remain in hospital as they recover, and maintain access to specialized regional programs.
For these reasons, the return of services and staff to their home units will occur over many weeks. For now, redeployed staff continue to be scheduled in to their temporary assignments.
We recognize the impact that this is having on everyone, particularly patients who are waiting for surgeries and procedures. Our goal remains to return staff to their areas as quickly as possible so that paused services can resume.
We are grateful to the many WLMH site staff and physicians who continue to be redeployed to other areas of the hospital as part of this directive, bringing their skills, knowledge and experience to provide care for patients from across Hamilton, West Niagara and beyond. This includes critical care units and other clinical areas, but also supporting operations that are essential in our response to the pandemic, such as providing doses of COVID-19 vaccine at clinics.