Photo essay: Building the CT suite

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.

Original floor plan when it was used as office space
Office space
And just in case you didn’t believe us that this was formerly an office space, here’s another blurry pic to prove it
CT suite floor plan
Demo day! Out with the old…
…preparing for the new
After demolition, construction crews rebuild the suite and line walls with lead panels to contain the radiation
Welding overhead mounts for equipment
Structure is built outside of the suite to house the CT “chiller”
At long last, the CT is delivered into….
…the brand new CT suite!
Patient waiting area with nature-print dividers
IV insertion and patient monitoring area
Details matter. This overhead panel provides a calming view for patients while receiving a scan
Finally, here’s the CT in its natural habitat!

Introducing…a palliative care nurse clinician

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?

  1. Patients live longer and better with early integration of palliative care.
  2. Palliative care should be available to all Canadians when facing life-limiting illness
  3. 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&A: Update on the new WLMH

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.

GRAPHIC: Countdown to Construction

Q. What happens in Stage 4?

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.

Update – provincial direction to resume non-urgent surgeries and procedures

On May 19, the province rescinded Chief Medical Officer of Health Directive #2 to enable the cautious and gradual resumption of hospital clinical services not expected to require inpatient resources.

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.

Equipping the new WLMH for success

When people think about building a hospital, the shiny new building from a project’s renderings often come to mind. Construction-related comments like “shovels in the ground” or “opening the doors” are tossed around in casual conversation.


Less attention is paid to the thousands of critical items which make the hospital function. Operating tables, IV pumps, task chairs, stretchers, ultrasound machines, waiting room seating, scalpels. In the hospital sector, these items are referred to as furniture, fixtures and equipment, or commonly just “FF&E” and are absolutely essential for the care that’s provided.


Figuring out FF&E

Calculating the FF&E needed for a new hospital is complex, but is also similar to how a family would figure out the décor in their home.


“Think about your living room and all the items in it. You have a couch, chairs, coffee table, maybe a lamp or two, some shelves, possibly a TV, area rug, artwork, books. If you were to move, you’d look at your furnishing and based on their condition and the space in the new house, which should be kept or replaced. That’s essentially what needs to be done when planning for every room in a new hospital,” said Bart DeVries, HHS director of redevelopment.


Knowing what we’ll need starts with knowing what we currently have and what can be transferred to the new building. To help with this process, hospital redevelopment teams lean on industry experts.


“Our team went in last June and did a complete inventory of the existing assets. Each item was tagged, barcoded and logged so we could conduct an assessment for transferability to the new building. Each asset is evaluated individually looking at its age, service history, compatibility in the new space and its current condition,” said Larry Rook, an advisor from Colliers Project Leaders.


Did you know? Approximately 3,500 items were tagged in this process at WLMH.

Once the cataloguing and assessment is done, the team needs to determine what is missing and what needs to be purchased, taking into account the needs and spaces in the new hospital.


For example, the current WLMH has two operating rooms. The new hospital will have four. Even if every item from the existing operating rooms were transferred (and much of it is new so it will be) outfitting would be needed for the two new rooms regardless.

Other factors play into the decisions as well. Timing is a big one.


“You can’t move the contents of an entire hospital to a new building overnight. There will be a period of overlap when the new hospital opens and both hospitals are still operating. The emergency department, for example; if you arrive at 5:59 a.m. at the old site on ‘move day’ you are cared for there and then transferred to the new hospital later. The new site opens at 6:00 a.m. on move day so all patients after that time are seen there. The result is that some items will be bought new to ensure continuity of operations,” noted Rook.

Covering the cost


FF&E for a new hospital can carry a hefty price tag. The multi-million dollar question becomes: who covers this cost? It depends on whether the items are considered “fixed or loose.”


“Generally, fixed items are anything that wouldn’t fall out of the building if you were to pick it up and turn it upside down. Ceiling-mounted surgical lights are a good example. Those are considered to be part of the building and are captured in the construction costs because structural supports need to be provided by the contractor and they have hard-wired electrical connections. Everything else that would shake out are considered loose and the Ministry doesn’t pay for those,” said DeVries.

Related: Take it to the Finish…Building a Healthy Community campaign website


The loose items are funded through the “local share of financing” for the new hospital. In Ontario, new hospitals are cost-shared between the Ministry of Health and the local community which the hospital serves. The local share is the portion the community is required to cover. For more on that, read this.

Related: Local share of financing lands at $50M


The more equipment that’s transferred means less will need to be bought new to open the hospital.


“FF&E costs are a big part of the local share of financing. For the WLMH redevelopment, we’ll be able to transfer almost 40 per cent of the total equipment required, which, compared to other hospital projects, is a considerable amount,” said DeVries, noting that all of the furniture in the new hospital will be bought new.

Three Teams on Shortlist to Build New WLMH


Process for full submissions opens in July, successful team will be announced spring 2022

Today, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) announced that three teams have been prequalified to design, build and finance the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) redevelopment project.


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.

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.


A request for proposals (RFP) is expected to be issued to these prequalified teams in summer 2021. Once submissions are received, IO and HHS Sciences will evaluate the proposals, select a preferred team and then negotiate a final contract. The successful team is expected to be announced in spring 2022. A fairness monitor will oversee the entire procurement process.

Quotes

“The WLMH RFQ generated interest from leading private-sector teams who want to bring this exciting project to life. Together with Infrastructure Ontario, we are encouraged by the quality of submissions received and look forward to seeing the full proposals from the shortlisted teams in the coming months. By this time next year, the successful design-build team will be selected; one of the final pieces before getting shovels into the ground.”
Kelly Campbell, VP Corporate Services and Capital Development, Hamilton Health Sciences

“The selection of three highly qualified teams to move on to the request for proposals stage is a significant project milestone. Through IO’s P3 process, we are confident these teams will submit competitive bids that will result in the delivery of a state-of-the-art hospital to serve West Niagara for years to come. We are delighted to once again partner with Hamilton Health Sciences as we set our collective sights toward breaking ground in spring 2022.”
Angela Clayton, President, Project Delivery, Infrastructure Ontario

“This is good news for Niagara West residents who have worked hard with HHS and WLMH team to ensure that this new facility moves forward. The Ontario government is committed to delivering this important project for Niagara West; and investing in healthcare across our region. My thanks goes to all who have put so much work into getting to this point, and my congratulations goes to those who have pre-qualified for this infrastructure build. I will keep supporting this build in any way I can!”
Sam Oosterhoff, MPP, Niagara West

Additional Resources


• Sign up for the monthly community newsletter to receive important news, updates and developments at the WLMH site.

COVID-19 Update: OR & L&D

The pressure within Ontario and on our hospital due to COVID-19 is escalating rapidly.

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) continues to create capacity for critical care and to ensure that the team members with the specialized skills and expertise required to care for the sickest patients are available and supported.

Read the list of temporary actions across HHS


HHS has been ramping down scheduled surgeries and non-emergent, non-urgent activities to be able to free-up staff for the response.

As of Friday, April 16, 2021 at 1500 hours, the OR at WLMH will temporarily close and Labour and Delivery will also be temporarily redirected to Niagara Health.

Patients will be advised by their health care provider about any changes to their care plan.

Any surgeries or procedures booked in the operating rooms at WLMH will be cancelled and rebooked. Additional information about pausing scheduled care is available here.

Information for families expecting to deliver at WLMH during this time is available here.

Appointments and diagnostic procedures, such as X-rays and ECGs, will go forward as scheduled.

All other hospital services remain open, including the emergency department.

As always, we thank our staff, physicians and partners at Niagara Health for their ongoing flexibility, professionalism and support of our patients.

SNEAK PEEK: New WLMH renderings

The WLMH redevelopment project once again entered unprecedented territory last week with the Stage 3 submission being sent to the Ministry of Health for approval: the final stage before the project is approved for tender in July!

This submission builds on the Stage 2 approval received in January and summarizes all the details required for the bidders to deliver a concept, design and price to construct the new hospital.

It also means we’re able to develop updated illustrative design renderings for the project! These renderings show what the hospital could look like, based on many of the requirements we’re putting forward to build teams to include in their bids for the project.

Bidders will apply their own innovations and solutions to meet the project’s needs, so these illustrations may still change somewhat.

Graphic: Evolution of Design-Build-Finance Project Design

The images illustrate the final plan with the former WLMH buildings removed; replaced with parks and parking. Due to the constraints on the site and robust specifications that will be in the tender package, it is very likely that the new WLMH will replicate many of the site and building characteristics shown in these renderings.

Stage 3 illustration of new WLMH: view from Main St.
Stage 3 illustration of new WLMH: view from current parking lot on east side of site.
Stage 3 illustration of new WLMH: aerial view of the proposed site (notice the proposed park space along Main St.!)

CT scanner: going the extra mile for patients

“Most patients don’t realize that WLMH doesn’t have a CT. When they find out they need to go somewhere else for their scan, they’re appreciative to get it done, but often shocked.”

This is a common experience for Kathy Harstone. Most patients who present to the emergency department (ED) and require a CT scan will be accompanied by a nurse for the ride to either the Hamilton General Hospital or Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre site. Harstone, a WLMH ED nurse of 15 years, has made the trip down the QEW dozens – possibly more than 100 – times.

“Patients will come to the ED and we will run a number of tests on site, depending on the situation. If it’s determined that a CT scan is needed, that kick starts the process of arranging a CT,” said Harstone, noting common ailments requiring a CT include abdominal pain, shortness of breath and the result of falls.

Process takes lots of planning

The process has been streamlined over the years and the team has it down to an art. Depending on the procedure needed, one of the Hamilton-based hospitals is selected. The ED team will contact the radiology team at the site and request a CT. Once granted, the next step is securing a transport vehicle to bring the patient and nurse to the site. Then the travel takes place.

“Before amalgamating with Hamilton Health Sciences, we used to send CTs all over the place, in Niagara, Haldimand and Hamilton. The process is now standardized and we appreciate the support from the other HHS sites. That said, it’s still a lot of planning to arrange,” said Harstone.

When a nurse has to accompany a patient for CT, the rest of the team in the ED continues providing care, but with one less team member for a period of time.    

“Having a CT scanner at WLMH will be a huge help, for patients, their families and the staff. Once it’s up and running, a CT scan will now be about a 15 or 30 minute trip in the building as opposed to the three-to-four hour round trip to Hamilton. It will reduce wait times and travel for patients, and will also decrease stress and strain for nurses and ED clerks arranging the scans,” she noted.

The WLMH CT is scheduled to be up and running by late spring 2021. Construction on the CT suite is well underway.

WLMH rebuild: rapid fire Q&A with Bart DeVries

Earlier this month (February 2021), the Ministry of Health approved the Stage 2 plan for the new hospital. We thought now is a good time to catch up with Bart DeVries, redevelopment director at HHS leading the WLMH rebuild planning, for a rapid fire Q&A session about the status of the rebuild.

So, the Stage 2 plan was approved. Does work on Stage 3 start now?

Actually, stages 2 and 3 were overlapped so work on the Stage 3 components has been happening for a while now. Due to the fast-tracking of this project, the work on Stage 3 was not held up waiting for Stage 2 approval.

What happens in Stage 3?

Stage 3 develops the specifications around the look, feel and character of the proposed building and site, including landscape, interior and exterior finishes, as well as technical requirements, like approved building materials and methods of construction. Furniture and equipment needs – which is a major component of the local share and building infrastructure requirements – are also finalized at this stage. This work was started in Stage 2, but approval provides further clarity to finalize the details.

How is that different from Stage 2?

Stage 2 focused on the flow and function of the building and where the proposed building might sit on the preliminary site plan. The Ministry’s approval essentially says “we agree with the plan, keep going.” That certainty allows the team to finalize all the details following the Ministry’s approval and determine requirements of the rooms, the equipment needed, the furnishings, as well as site planning and design.

What are the Stage 3 deliverables to the Ministry?

Stage 3 submission will include program requirements like which rooms need to be located where, mechanical/electrical requirements, updated furniture and equipment details, illustrative floor plans, and an updated cost estimate. It will also include the overall project requirements, which will be very similar to the information that will be included in the Request for Proposals (RFP) documents. The RFP will be issued in July.

When will the Stage 3 plan be submitted to the Ministry?

By the end of March.

By the end of Stage 3, will we know what the building will look like?

The Stage 3 plan will include a vision of what the building could look like. However, the successful design-build construction team will tell us what they can build within both the confines and ranges of the program specifications and cost parameters assigned by the Ministry of Health and Infrastructure Ontario (IO), respectively.

By the end of Stage 3, will we know the exact services that will be in the building?

Yes. The list of services was provided by the Ministry with its approval of the Stage 1 plan, at the end of 2019. That list hasn’t changed.

Last year, it was shared that the new building would be bigger than the current hospital. Does the team now have the approval needed from the Town of Grimsby to increase the size?

Yes. The application for a minor variance to allow increased height to a portion of the site where the building could be located, was approved by the Town in January.

So, does this mean approval was granted to start building?

No, approval was granted to build a taller/larger building, not to start construction yet. An overall “site plan” has been submitted to the Town for preliminary approval. This includes all planned components for the site, like where the building could sit, parking layout, and greenspace. Closer to construction, an application for a building permit will be submitted and an updated site plan will be issued to the Town for final approval.

What is the status of procurement for the design-build team?

The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) closed at the end of January. The submissions from qualified teams are being reviewed together with IO. From those submissions, a short list will be created and those teams will be invited to compete during the RFP process. We will know who the prequalified design/construction teams are by mid-April. The RFP will be posted in July and will close in December.

When will we know how much the building will cost?

IO has set cost parametres for the project. It’s a competitive process between potential bidders and they will include costing in their bids. So, the exact numbers from the winning design-build team won’t be known until spring 2022 at the earliest.

Overall timeline for the project?

Planning is targeting shovels in the ground around May or June 2022. So, about 15 months from now, give or take.

Can’t spell ‘construction’ without ‘CT’

Behind-the-scenes look at preparing for the WLMH CT scanner

The secret is out: West Niagara will have a brand new CT scanner in a few months! The machine has been selected and purchased, thanks in part to the WLMH Foundation and the landmark MES agreement HHS signed with Siemens.

Now comes the heavy lifting, literally, preparing the room to house the machine. We caught up with Diego Gomez, the project manager at HHS overseeing this work, to tell us how they’re turning an old office space into a modern diagnostic imaging suite.

First and foremost, site selection within the building.

“The team looked at the entire building and decided for a number of reasons that a former office space in the basement would be the best location,” he said. “The Ministry of Health has specific requirements for how the room needs to be set up. There are also physical space constraints in the existing building. The CT suite will be located across from the elevator, providing an adequate patient/stretcher flow from and to the Emergency Department, exterior access and in-patient units on floors above.”

FUN FACT: in hospitals, office space is called “soft space” which means it can be easily adapted for different purposes. Unlike “hard space” like an Operating Room for example, which comes with specific technology, fixed equipment and air handling requirements.

Now, the demo can start. Actually, not just yet.

“Given the age of the building, accurate as-built drawings were not easy to come by. So we had to do a lot of testing, specifically of the floor. It turns out the concrete slab is thick enough to support the weight of the machine and will withstand vibration generated by the machine,” said Gomez.

FUN FACT: CT machines weigh more than 2,000 lbs. The largest machines can weigh more than 6,000 lbs.

Ok, NOW the demo can start…which it has and the team is making considerable progress.

“They’ve taken the space down to the to the perimeter walls. The contractors have put up the new partitions, installed steel studs, ‘roughed in’ all the electrical, plumbing, air handling and gas lines, similar to a home renovation. Once it’s inspected, they will wrap the walls and ceiling with lead sheets, which is required for a CT as is produces radiation. The lead contains the radiation within the room, which is essential for safety. Then they will add the drywall boards and finish the entire space,” Gomez continued.

FUN FACT: Constructing a CT suite requires many sign offs at different stages of the process. This includes building permits from the municipality for the construction items, CT manufacturer requirements for the room, Ministry approval of the architectural drawings and lead plan, third-party inspections of oxygen and airflow, and final testing of all components…including the lead…before it can open.

The suite itself will have a few different areas, including a waiting room, patient change room and washroom, a holding area for pre and post procedure, and a radiologist’s office. This is in addition to the control room where the technicians operate the machine and conduct the scans, and the CT room itself where the machine lives.

Architectural drawing of the WLMH CT suite.

“The machine will be the main fixture in the room. There will also be some technology, including a ceiling-mounted patient lift to assist patients in accessing the table. There will be a camera and intercom so the patient and technician can maintain contact throughout the procedure. The control room will be separated by a radiation-resistant window, where the techs can safely monitor the patient,” he said.

The CT requires ice-cold water for it to operate. A chiller unit will be installed on the exterior of the building outside of the suite. CT machines are also power suckers.

“We tested all the power and verified that the supply is sufficient. We’re tying into the diesel generators which were recently installed at the site through the infrastructure upgrades to connect to emergency back-up power if there’s ever a short,” noted Gomez.

LAST FUN FACT…we promise: renovating in old buildings can often present unknown and unexpected surprises. When preparing the room for the CT, the team shut all the water valves to the area, but water continued to flow. The team ended up freezing the water in the pipes with liquid nitrogen, allowing them to install new shut off valves.

Ontario Invests $15 Million to Support the Redevelopment of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital

New State-of-the-Art Replacement Hospital in Grimsby will Improve Access to Quality Health Care

NEWS
February 2, 2021

GRIMSBY – As part of its comprehensive plan to end hallway health care, the Ontario government is making an additional investment of over $15 million to support the planning and design of the new Hamilton Health Sciences – West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby. Once complete, this new state-of-the-art hospital will replace the existing aged facility, expand capacity, improve access to quality care and help end hallway health care for patients and families in West Niagara.

“This is another great step toward the new hospital West Niagara needs. A new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital is right around the corner,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

“I will keep advocating to make sure this project continues to move forward. Since the announcement of a new hospital in 2018, everyone has moved quickly to make this a reality. Getting to Stage 3 is an immense accomplishment for the many staff and planners who have helped get it to this point.”

The Ministry of Health has reviewed and accepted the Functional Program Submission. The new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital will provide patients and families in the region with the following:
• A modern, up to date facility with capacity for a total of 61 beds;
• A larger, 24/7 emergency department that will provide more space for staff and patients;
• Maternal and newborn services to support high-quality care during labour and birth;
• Modern surgical suites to deliver care with the best technology available; and
• Outpatient care services including minor surgical procedures such as endoscopies.
Following design of the new hospital, project procurement is expected to begin in 2021. The procurement process will ensure a fair, open and transparent selection of a proponent to begin construction on the new hospital.

“Investing in major hospital infrastructure projects like the redevelopment of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital is a key part of our government’s plan to end hallway health care and build a modern and connected health care system,” said Christine Elliott, Minister of Health.

“This investment will help to ensure that patients and families across West Niagara have access to high-quality care they need, when they need it, and that frontline health workers have the modern facilities and resources they need to deliver that care.”

“Hamilton Health Sciences is grateful for the outpouring of support for this project, particularly from Minister Elliott and her team, MPP Oosterhoff, Infrastructure Ontario, regional and local elected representatives and partners, and the West Niagara community,” said Rob MacIsaac, President & CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences.

“This project is a great example of what can be achieved through collaboration and shared vision. Each milestone we reach is a shared accomplishment for everyone involved.”

The new hospital in Grimsby is part of Ontario’s investment of $20 billion over 10 years to build new and expanded hospital infrastructure. The funding announced today is in addition to the over $2.2 million in provincial funding provided to support the planning of the redevelopment of the hospital.

Quick Facts
• On average, there are approximately 20,000 visits to the emergency department at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital each year, and around 2,900 patients are admitted to the hospital. Approximately 750 babies are born every year at the hospital.
• While early planning work for the redevelopment project was undertaken, Ontario invested $10.5 million to support immediate infrastructure improvements to West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

COVID-19 outbreak: Obstetrics update

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak on C-Ward at WLMH, obstetrics services will be temporarily redirected to Niagara Health, starting Friday, January 29 at 3 pm.

This redirect is anticipated to be in place for two weeks.

With C-Ward closed to new admissions, the site has lost 50 per cent of its bed capacity. In order to keep the Emergency Department functioning and supporting the community during this period, the obstetrical unit will be temporarily used for medical patient admissions.

For families expecting to deliverer at WLMH during this time, please contact Angela Leslie at 905-945-2253 ext 11436 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 ongoing flexibility, professionalism and support of our patients.

UPDATE: Obstetrics services resume January 12

Following up from this post in November, obstetrics services at WLMH will resume next week, starting January 12, from Tuesday morning to Friday afternoon. We can now confirm that outside of these hours, women in labour or requiring assessment will be redirected to deliver at the St. Catharines site of Niagara Health (NH).

This follows the model we had in place prior to the operating rooms being temporarily closed for renovations. 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.
Midwifery care will be provided at NH only.

EXPECTING FAMILIES: this handout is for you.


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.

Scheduled c-sections and gynecology care will continue at WLMH as it has since the operating rooms reopened in September.

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.

Reflecting on a remarkable year

What a remarkable year 2020 has been.

As a global pandemic took hold in the community, our team at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) has shown incredible resilience and dedication to keep the hospital open and our patients safe.

Inside the hospital, we’ve invested heavily to upgrade the aging mechanical systems to make the building safer, until we can open the new one. The most significant safety upgrade at the site occurred in the operating rooms and endoscopy reprocessing area. Our site team and the contractor worked tirelessly during the surgical shutdown that occurred in response to the pandemic in order to renovate and reopen the operating rooms on time.

We’re also further down the path than ever before to rebuild WLMH. This year started with the government approving a detailed service plan for the new hospital, which meant we could start designing how those services will function in a brand new building. At the end of October, that plan was sent to the Ministry of Health for review. We’re now looking for a team to design and build the future hospital. This project is moving at unprecedented speed. Our goal is to keep it going.

Through it all, our community, neighbours, families, patients, staff, physicians, volunteers, partners and donors have stood beside us. We thank you for your unwavering support and generosity this and every year. Because of you, WLMH’s future has never been brighter.

On behalf of Hamilton Health Sciences, we would like to wish you a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

HHS starting process to find build team for new WLMH

The redevelopment of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) is taking another step forward as Infrastructure Ontario and Hamilton Health Sciences start the process to find a design-build team for the project.

Issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) is the initial opportunity for prospective teams to express their interest in bidding for the construction contract.

The RFQ process narrows down the list of teams to those who have the design and construction experience, as well as the financial capacity to deliver a project of this size and complexity.

Shortlisted teams will be invited to respond to a request for proposals, or RFP, which is expected to be released mid-2021.

“This is a significant milestone toward redeveloping West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. In less than a year, this project has progressed from initial planning stages to finding a builder for the new hospital. We’re thankful for the ongoing commitment of our government partners, the community and our team who keep this project on track and moving quickly toward the finish line.” Rob MacIsaac, President & CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences

“This is great news for the continued progress towards the new hospital the residents of Grimsby and West Niagara deserve. Because of the tireless efforts of so many within the hospital and broader community, the new hospital has moved forward rapidly, and I am confident we will see shovels in the ground as soon as possible. We can’t forget, this started back at square one in 2018, and the project has seen remarkable progress in two years. My thanks goes to all the citizens, frontline workers, administration, and advisory groups that have been involved in this process. This step is good news towards the selection of the construction firm which will build this hospital. I will keep working with our local community to make this happen.” Sam Oosterhoff, MPP, Niagara West

Services are coming back, baby!

This week, the initial plan to resume obstetrics services at WLMH was shared with site staff and physicians.

Starting January 12, 2021, mothers in labour will be able to deliver their babies from Tuesday morning until Friday afternoon at WLMH. Births outside of these hours will be delivered at another nearby hospital. Those details are still being worked out and will be shared as soon as they’re confirmed.

The service resumption will be assessed on an ongoing basis to determine if and how it can be sustained and expanded. Factors which will be considered include the availability of staffing and the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the community. The goal is to build the service up to provide as much coverage as possible, as long as its sustainable from a staffing and resourcing perspective to do so.

“Obstetrics services at WLMH are very important to families in West Niagara, and it is very good news that safety upgrades at WLMH funded by the Government of Ontario will enable the program to continue. We’re grateful to our staff and physicians who have made this program resumption possible, and to our partners for their support during this period. Recruitment is ongoing for additional operating room staff needed to expand the services in a sustainable manner,” said Dr. Michael Stacey, EVP Academic and Chief Medical Executive, Hamilton Health Sciences.

Obstetrics services offered at WLMH were temporarily redirected earlier this year to allow for critical safety upgrades in the site’s operating rooms. Functional operating rooms and sufficient operating room staffing are required to provide a safe environment for after-hours and overnight births, in the event that emergency surgical procedures are needed during a delivery.

Scheduled c-section births have been taking place at WLMH since the operating rooms reopened in September.

Ten things to know about the Stage 2 submission

The last seven months were a whirlwind for those involved in WLMH rebuild planning. But, we got the Stage 2 plan done and sent off to the Ministry for review and approval…ahead of schedule!

It’s not a final document until the Ministry approves it, so we can’t say too much at this point. Though we’re too excited not to share some information about the plan. Here are 10 things to know about the WLMH Stage 2 submission:

  • The Stage 2 plan is submitted as part of the Government of Ontario’s five-stage process for building a hospital, with Infrastructure Ontario estimating construction on the new WLMH to begin in 2022.
  • The Stage 2 plan is based on planning details set by the Ministry about the services to be included in the new hospital. The Ministry of Health will make the final decision to approve or request changes to the plan.
  • The submission is not publicly accessible until the Ministry’s final approval is provided. This is anticipated early in 2021.
  • The submission includes:
    • a detailed list of the spaces within the new building;
    • a simplified “block planning” of how those spaces may be configured within the new hospital;
    • a site plan showing elements like parking, site access, landscape, etc.;
    • a list of all furniture and equipment needed for the facility;
    • and, a preliminary cost estimate.
  • Based on Ministry specs to assure accessibility, infection control and service delivery, the proposed hospital will be almost double the size of the current hospital – from 65,000 sq. ft. to roughly 120,000 sq. ft.
  • Approximately 150 staff members from across WLMH and HHS contributed their experience and expertise to this planning. This was on top of their daily duties of providing or supporting the delivery of excellent patient care. We’re incredibly thankful for their efforts to get this done. Particularly because…
  • Stage 2 planning kicked off the week before COVID-19 started showing up in our community. Almost every meeting was done virtually, but the stakeholder engagement was equally as robust as in-person sessions. “We got great questions, ideas and comments in all of our user group meetings. The engagement got even better as we progressed through the process. This was new for all of us, but it was a robust experience and that’s definitely reflected in the final plan,” said Bart DeVries, director of redevelopment.
  • The plan proposes to build the new hospital behind the existing building. Once the new hospital is open, the old hospital will be demolished. This will create a substantial set back from the street to the front door allowing for landscaping and additional parking. The details of what this looks like will be developed in Stage 3.
  • The plan includes four operating suites which is twice the number at the current WLMH. This is consistent with the Ministry’s direction, meaning more people can receive the surgical care they need at WLMH.
  • The plan includes space for a multi-faith room, where patients and families will be able to go for a quiet moment of reflection when they need it. The current site does not have a similar space.

    Want more content on the WLMH rebuild? Here’s the most recent video in our series with WLMH leaders involved in the rebuild, talking about what we’re planning and what we can expect moving forward.