|We are taking precautions at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) to ensure the safety of our staff, physicians, patients, families and community. More information related to COVID-19 is available here:|
Hamilton Health Sciences hospital information
Niagara Region Public Health
Visitor guidelines have changed and we have moved to a no-visitor policy with very few exceptions. Based on these guidelines, infrastructure work at WLMH, with the exception of some limited outside work, has been placed on hold.
The Ministry of Health has mandated all health care facilities to postpone all non-urgent elective activity, including surgeries and non-urgent clinic visits.
Some patients receiving non-urgent scheduled care may access care by phone or virtually.
Elective surgeries are being postponed and perioperative services at West Lincoln are temporarily closed. This will support additional patient care capacity and availability of health care professionals in the weeks ahead. West Lincoln patients requiring urgent surgical procedures will receive care at the appropriate alternative hospital. Patients will be notified by their surgeon if their surgery is deferred.
Planning for a new WLMH
The Capital Planning team continues to move forward with planning for the new WLMH. Kick-off meetings took place earlier this month. Work led by non-clinical team members continues to move ahead. We remain committed to moving forward, recognizing COVID-19 presents an evolving situation and patient care requirements remain our top priority.
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We’re sharing timely updates and shareable content on our social media channels, like this “five small acts” campaign, which is linked at the handles below.
The 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) causes a respiratory infection and spreads mainly from person to person. Those with a weakened immune system are more at risk, which may be the case for older people and those with chronic diseases. The first presumptive case of this infection in Ontario was identified on January 25, 2020. Since then, the World Health Organization has characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. We are taking precautions at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) to ensure the safety of our staff, patients, and community.
And we’re off!
It was a packed meeting room at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) on Thursday afternoon with staff, physicians and hospital administrators ready to roll up their sleeves to dig into the next phase of planning for the rebuild.
The gathering was a kick-off session to introduce experts from RPG Inc., who will lead us through creating a “functional program” for the new hospital.
“This is a very important step in the redevelopment process. It’s critical that we have the right people around the table to provide advice, ask the right questions and make sure we create the best program for the new hospital. The team from RPG has tremendous experience working with hospitals across Ontario and we’re glad to see so many of our staff and physicians wanting to get involved,” says Kelly Campbell, HHS vice-president of Corporate Services and Capital Development.
The functional program will include details about the programs and services in the new facility, as well as describing workload, equipment and operational processes. This will be done through 19 unique “user groups” made up of hospital staff and physicians over the coming weeks. User groups will focus on matters in specific clinical services and departments, like emergency care, diagnostics, obstetrics and more.
Creating best practices for new hospital
A significant part of this phase is understanding current patient care and work flow practices and creating the best processes for the new hospital.
“We’re excited to get going on this project. We know the hospital and community have been waiting a long time for this and we’re pleased to be part of the process. It’s encouraging to see the momentum and support around this project,” said Chuck Wertheimer, senior principal at RPG Inc and project lead on the WLMH rebuild.
In addition to all of the community, hospital and government leaders’ support for the project, the ministry is giving HHS a unique exception to fast-track the planning process by overlapping some parts of Stage 2 and Stage 3 work.
“This is not business as usual and we’re very pleased to see this flexibility. It will, however, mean a lot of work needs to get done in a shorter time frame which will require a focus and extra efforts from the user groups, the hospital and our team. I know that we’re all up for the challenge,” said Wertheimer.
The functional program will also profile design and spatial requirements, a project budget and a project schedule which is looking to be submitted to the ministry by early fall 2020.
Hospital and community members who want to stay up-to-date on WLMH developments can subscribe to our newsletter.
Planning for the new WLMH is moving quickly, so we pulled together a short document to highlight the key features which will be in the new building.
This information is taken from a few sources, most importantly the letter from the Ministry of Health granting us approval to move forward to Stage 2 planning (and here is Infrastructure Ontario’s 2019 Market Update).
Readers are welcome to share this document with your friends, families and networks. Please also sign up for our monthly newsletter which will include important updates like this as we continue moving toward a rebuilt WLMH.
Stay in touch! Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest WLMH news, updates and progress towards building the new hospital.
Designing the New Hospital
The Government of Ontario approved the next step toward rebuilding West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH). The new hospital will include in-patient care, an emergency department, maternal and newborn services, day surgery, endoscopy, diagnostic services and ambulatory services.
Detailed plans are being created and will be complete by fall 2020 or sooner. Everyone is working to get shovels in the ground as quickly as possible. Get the full story.
Operating Room Renovations Are on Time
Work is underway to fix the operating rooms (OR) and endoscopy area to meet all required safety and infection control standards. Here’s what’s happening:
• Design work is done
• Hazmat assessment is done
• Documentation submitted to the local Building Department
• Start construction in spring 2020
• Complete construction through the summer
• Re-open the operating rooms in the fall
There is a nationwide shortage of OR nurses, so we are training our own to help increase the number of OR nurses at WLMH. Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) will pay and train 4 successful nurse applicants to gain the special skills needed to work in the operating room.
• Program designed and supported by the nurses union
• Positions listed and interviews underway
• Complete selection process
• Training will start February 2020
The Ontario government has given Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) the green light to proceed to the next step (Stage 2) toward building a new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH).
The new hospital will include inpatient services, an emergency department, maternal and newborn services, day surgical services, endoscopy, diagnostic services and ambulatory services. Regional healthcare services such as cancer and cardiac care will continue to be provided at other hospital sites.
“On behalf of Hamilton Health Sciences, I’d like to thank everyone in West Niagara for continuing to highlight the need for a new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital,” says Dr. Michael Stacey, executive vice president, academic and chief medical officer at HHS. “It is through the efforts and hard work of so many including provincial government and local leaders that this milestone has been reached.”
In the new year, HHS will build on efforts already underway to complete the Stage 2 planning process. This will include the selection of an external team of experts to help develop plans for the new hospital. Based on earlier work, and with support from hospital staff and physicians, a Functional Program will be created for the new hospital. The Functional Program will include details about the programs and services in the new facility, as well as describing workload, equipment and operational processes. The Functional Program will also profile design and spatial requirements, a project budget, project schedule and the local share financial plan.
Planning will continue to move ahead as quickly as possible and updates will be shared as the work progresses.
In October 2019, HHS received funding approval from the Ontario government to redevelop West Lincoln Memorial Hospital’s (WLMH) operating rooms (OR) and endoscopy reprocessing area in order to meet critical standards for patient safety.
We are moving forward with these important renovations with a targeted completion date of September 2020. Until that time, access will continue to one OR at the hospital. Our goal is to finish these renovations as quickly as possible to minimize disruption for patients, staff and physicians.
To expedite these renovations, we requested and received permission from the Ontario Ministry of Health to have the construction contractor who is currently working on other infrastructure projects at WLMH to undertake the OR and endoscopy redevelopment. This important step eliminated the lengthy procurement process normally required and has fast-tracked the project by approximately twelve months.
Key project stages include development of designs to support the permit process, equipment specifications for custom pieces, and construction. Below is an estimated timeline for the project, which is subject to change and dependent on factors outside our control, such as the timely delivery by third party suppliers of custom equipment or other supplies purchased for the project, such as the air handling units and custom-cut stainless steel installations.
|Predesign and building systems audit||Oct 14 – Nov 1, 2019|
|Design approval and development; identification of equipment requirements; hazardous material assessment||Nov 4 – Nov 29, 2019|
|Document submission for Building Dept. Amendment||Dec 2 – Jan 10, 2020|
|Final pricing by the contractor (Merit Contractors Niagara)||Jan 13 – Jan 30, 2020|
|Shop drawing development and approvals||February 1-29, 2020|
|Construction (Note – construction start will depend on air handling unit delivery for both the infrastructure project and Endoscopy/OR)||March/April–Sept 2020|
Questions and Answers
Why will this project take ten months to complete?
The project requires several custom items to be designed, built and delivered, the longest lead time being the air handling unit which takes a minimum of 16 weeks from order to delivery. Exhaust fans and OR scrub sinks will also take between 10 to 12 weeks to build and ship. These production timelines are consistent across the industry for units of this size. We remain in close contact with the manufacturer and the contractor to make sure that we can continue to expedite where possible and be ready to install when the units arrive.
Below is a list of long-lead items required for this project:
• Air handling unit – minimum 16 weeks
• Exhaust fans – 10 to 12 weeks
• Stainless steel height adjustable counter – 8 weeks, once shop drawings are approved.
• Endo pass-thru window – 8 weeks, once shop drawings are approved.
• Doors, frames and hardware – 4 to 6 weeks, once door & hardware schedule is approved
• Hand washing sinks – 4 to 6 weeks.
• OR scrub sink & faucet – 10 to 12 weeks
How does this fit with the other infrastructure projects underway at WLMH?
Work is underway on our existing infrastructure projects. The contractor will coordinate the scope of work between the existing projects and the OR and endoscopy renovations, while taking every effort to minimize disruption for patients, staff and physicians. Current work underway includes the removal of the chimney, electrical work for new emergency generators and the installation of a cooling tower.
While we work towards a new hospital, this project will help us continue to provide a safe environment for everyone until the new hospital is ready.
Current work includes:
• Removal of chimney to accommodate the new boilers and mechanical components
• Electrical work for new emergency generators
• Installation of cooling tower
• Updates to front wing corridor including lighting and fire alarm devices and installation of new ceiling tiles.
Thank you for your patience and support while these critical issues are being addressed.
The parking lot at WLMH is being resurfaced as part of the regular maintenance schedule. The work is being done in stages to allow for continued access to parking spaces and should be completed by mid-November. Access to the Emergency Department is not affected and all pedestrian entrances remain open.
All Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) parking infrastructure, including the WLMH parking lot, is managed by the Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) Volunteer Association (VA). The HHS VA funds all necessary parking lot repairs and maintenance. The resurfacing project is 100% funded by the HHS VA.
The new hospital will be situated primarily behind the current building footprint. The existing parking lot will continue to be used for public parking in support of the new hospital, once it is open.
Thank you for your patience while this work is being completed.
As a result of continued dialogue between Hamilton Health Sciences and Niagara Health and the strong advocacy by WLMH obstetricians for their patients to receive care closer to home, we’re pleased to share a development about obstetrical care.
Effective immediately, WLMH obstetricians will be able to support care for their patients, including those in labour and inductions, at Niagara Health – St. Catharines site while critical infrastructure upgrades take place at our WLMH site.
Pre-planned elective C-sections will continue to be provided at WLMH.
Expectant families can access further information here.
We are grateful to our partners and providers for their continued collaboration to support patient care.
As a reminder, the emergency department, day clinics, inpatient care and diagnostics are not affected by the renovations and continue to function while the construction is happening.
On Tuesday, October 8, Sam Oosterhoff, MPP Niagara West, and Robin Martin, Parliamentary Assistant (PA) to the Minister of Health, were at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital to announce funding for the redevelopment of the second OR and endoscopy reprocessing at the site.
The announcement was made on behalf of Christine Elliot, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. This investment will enable critical infrastructure upgrades that are needed to maintain services safely until we can open the doors on a new hospital.
We are grateful for the strong commitment of the Government of Ontario to safe patient care and the rebuilding of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. Updates will continue to be provided as we move forward.
Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) has a plan to rebuild its West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) site with a firm commitment from the Ontario government to provide the necessary funding to do so quickly.
Until the new facility is ready, HHS and the Ontario government are investing in critical infrastructure upgrades and renovations to keep the current building safe for everyone, and to allow WLMH to return all services to full capacity as quickly as possible. As these upgrades and renovations are being completed, WLMH has only one operating room (OR) available until fall 2020, resulting in the need for difficult decisions about how to organize the services that rely on that OR.
The emergency department, day clinics, inpatient care and diagnostics are not affected by the renovations and continue to function while construction is happening. Further, WLMH can keep scheduling elective surgery, including elective C-sections and gynecological surgeries in the one OR.
However, for WLMH to be able to continue offering these services, the hospital needs to temporarily move most of its low-risk labor and deliveries to other nearby hospitals. Family doctors, midwives and obstetricians who care for patients at WLMH have designed a plan to continue providing care to their patients, which involves caring for patients at WLMH, Niagara Health and McMaster University Medical Centre (MUMC). WLMH is grateful to its system partner Niagara Health and colleagues at MUMC for maintaining the continuity of care for patients in West Niagara.
This plan will allow WLMH to continue serving expectant mothers and families in West Niagara in the safest way possible while the hospital upgrades and renovates so that it can meet all the required standards for safe patient care in our hospital.
Doctors and midwives will coordinate care plans with their patients directly to determine the best individual option.
While this is difficult for our staff and communities, this is the best plan in light of the real and significant constraints of WLMH’s aging facility. At the end of the day, WLMH will do whatever is necessary to maintain the highest standards of patient safety.
“As healthcare providers, it’s our job to put patient safety first. We must eliminate every preventable risk to our patients, even if when it means making tough choices. The critical upgrades we are making at WLMH limit our ability to provide a safe and full labour and delivery service until construction is complete. We are grateful to all staff, physicians and midwives, and our system partners, for finding a way to meet the needs of patients in West Niagara until the renovation work is completed next year.” – Dr. Michael Stacey, Executive Vice President Academic and Chief Medical Executive
“We know how important obstetrical services are to the community, which is why we exhausted every option to keep the service here. Although there will be some changes for patients and providers, the planning group agreed on a model that is the best option in difficult circumstances. When we are approved for our OR renovation, we plan on returning to full obstetrical, OR, and endoscopy services at WLMH.”– Dr. Mat Noble Wohlgemut, WLMH Interim Medical Lead
“We were faced with difficult choices due to limited resources. At the end of the day, our focus is to maintain obstetrical services within the Niagara region for West Niagara residents. Our team of midwives will continue to work collaboratively with our health system partners to achieve this goal.” – Pilar Chapman, Lincoln Community Midwives
In this issue, we provide an update on WLMH. We also highlight the WLM Auxilliary’s 75th anniversary celebrations and funding received from GBF Community Services.
The following letter from Mayor Easton, Mayor Jordan and Mayor Bylsma was published in News Now Niagara (May 23, 2019).
Dear community members and concerned citizens,
As the Mayors for West Niagara, we thought it time we talk to you, our residents about the state of WLMH and the commitment for a long needed and long promised rebuild.
For many of you, you have seen the media alerts and the promise by none other than Premier Ford and Health Minster Christine Elliott for a rebuild – these are important and positive confirmations. Since last fall, and since those promises, there has been some work happening. While much remains to be done before a shovel is in the ground, and also, while much remains that isn’t confirmed or solved completely, important and incremental work has continued. We still however, require continued advocacy by all parties, on all sides to find and sustain a workable solution for our communities.
The following three issues have been at the forefront of our efforts with HHS and WLMH:
1) A firm commitment to find a solution that will not require surgical and obstetrical services to be relocated. This includes endoscopy as well.
2) Urgently recruiting surgical nursing staff at WLMH.
3) Confirmation that HHS is fully committed to the redevelopment plan for WLMH (including all services) that had been previously submitted to the Ministry of Health for approval.
There is one thing since the beginning we have all agreed on, and as the mayors we took this message to the Minster of Health herself, and that is that the safety and well-being of patients, our community and staff at WLMH is our number one priority.
In a recent update from the leadership at HHS we were told with respect to the OR nursing staff, that 3 OR nurses have been recruited for the WLMH surgical program. Training and orientation will begin shortly and nurses will be in their new roles in the of Fall 2019.
With respect to the commitment to maintain services, there is a WLMH Transition Planning Working Group working on this piece. We are reassured that work continues between the administrative and medical staff, as well as ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Health, to determine how best to meet the appropriate standards for safety and quality of care in the surgical and obstetrical units within the hospital. While this does not yet indicate a solution has been reached, we implore all sides to find a workable and much needed solution. The community expects one and as your leaders we are advocating for a solution. This is our priority right now!
We have also recently been told that HHS are assessing solutions to address the renovations required at the hospital. This includes the examination of “low-cost and low-impact solutions” that can be put in place immediately. We were also told that HHS is “carefully considering what additional renovations might be required at the site to fully address critical issues, specifically the safe storage of surgical supplies.”
Their priority and ours is the same, to minimize or avoid service disruptions because of the impact on the communities we ALL serve and what that means to the staff that work and provide life saving care at WLMH. To that point, we remain cautiously optimistic that HHS will look at timing and duration, as well as an appropriate approach for renovations.
We have said on numerous occasions, and this is another point all sides agree on including HHS – our goal is to protect the model of care that is offered at WLMH. We have all heard that HHS is committed to ensure service disruptions are minimal. They have said numerous times that “if service disruptions are required at WLMH to conduct renovations on the facility, the impacted services will return as quickly as possible.” This public declaration and commitment is important.
Our staff and leadership at WLMH care deeply about the lives they touch and the people they serve. That goes without saying. That’s why the work underway to remedy the areas required is so important. That is why having the entire community hold our collective feet to the fire, all of us, all levels of all governments and agencies is important.
Yes some progress has been made – but the urgency remains! We will leave no stone unturned in seeking opportunities to ensure WLMH remains an integral part of our communities and in doing so improve the safety and environment of care for patients and staff.
On behalf of our communities, Lincoln, Grimsby and West Lincoln.
~ Mayor Easton, Mayor Jordan and Mayor Bylsma
OR nursing staff update
Nurses have been recruited for the WLMH surgical program. Training and orientation will take place throughout the summer and it is expected that the new recruits will be ready to begin their roles in Fall 2019. In the meantime the weekend re-direct of Labour and Delivery continues.
The WLMH Transition Planning Working Group
Intensive work continues with our administration and medical staff to determine how best to meet the appropriate standards for safety and quality of care in the surgical and obstetrical areas of our WLMH site.
The WLMH Transition Planning Working Group, which includes the WLMH site medical leaders, has unanimously agreed that several of the missed standards identified are a high priority for action in the weeks ahead. These issues were validated extensively using third party expertise. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is in full agreement with the working group’s findings that we must address the issues identified.
Several low-cost, low-impact solutions can be put in place immediately. We are carefully considering what additional renovations might be required at the site to fully address critical issues, specifically the safe storage of surgical supplies.
Our priority is to minimize or avoid service disruptions altogether, because of the impact on the communities we serve and the care providers at WLMH. We want to protect the model of care that we are proud of here at WLMH. The timing and duration of any renovations is still being looked at by our teams. We expect to have firm answers soon. If service disruptions are required, the impacted services will return as quickly as possible.
Ongoing infrastructure renewal
Infrastructure renewal work announced by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care last November is ongoing at WLMH. This work is not directly related to the maintenance of patient safety standards identified by our Transition Planning Working Group, but does address important things like elevator upgrades, plumbing and electrical work throughout the facility.