Celebrating the WLMH CT’s scanniversary

It’s been a year since the team at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) provided its first computed tomography (CT) scan at the site. Getting to that historic day last June was more than a decade in the making.

“What an amazing year we’ve had here in the CT department at West Lincoln,” said Mindy Chmielewski, Sr. CT Technologist at WLMH. “One year of providing care to the community and helping to reduce wait times across Hamilton Health Sciences network. I really couldn’t have asked for a better team to persevere through these difficult times we are facing in healthcare. We have amazing support within the community and within our hospital site as well.”

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Over the past year, more than 7,300 scans were performed at the site. Approximately 3,000 of those scans were either inpatient or patients from the emergency department. Previously, these patients would need to be taken to a clinical site in Hamilton to receive the scan. A nurse from WLMH would usually go with the patient on that journey.

“Having the CT scan at the site has significantly decreased our investigational delays and as a result has allowed us to diagnose and resolve our patients health concern in less time,” said Dr. Joan Bellaire, Medical Site Lead at WLMH. “It has considerably improved the flow of our patients within our emergency department. It has also eliminated the need for nurses to accompany our patients off site for an off-site CT scan, which eased some of the challenges with nursing shortages that we and most hospitals are facing.”

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By all accounts, integrating the CT scanner into site operations has been essentially seamless. This is largely due to many teams at the site who work together to create a patient care atmosphere that is “second to none.”

“Since its implementation, site teams have collaborated to provide a remarkable experience for patients and families,” said Bethany Hancocks, clinical manager responsible for diagnostic imaging (DI), emergency department and other units at WLMH. “The DI team has worked diligently to ensure all of our techs have the essential training they need to complete these essential exams for patients in the West Niagara community and surrounding areas. The commitment to providing an optimal patient experience is recognized not only on the smiles of the patients we see through the department, but also in the feedback we have received from our grateful patients and families.”

The path to bring the CT to the site was a long one, but was accelerated by HHS’ landmark Managed Equipment Services (MES) agreement with Siemens Healthineers in early 2020. It was also supported by generous community donations through the WLMH Foundation.

RELATED: Photos – building the WLMH CT suite

New West Lincoln Memorial Hospital is a done deal!

Now its time to build!

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.

Related: read the full news release

The next day, local elected, hospital and community leaders gathered to celebrate.

Here are a few pics from the day.

Surgeries, procedures resuming March 21

Birthing services to resume at WLMH on April 19

Please note the following update on the status of scheduled care and obstetrical services at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH).

Scheduled Care

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 Care

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.

EllisDon Team Selected to Build New WLMH

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.

Q&A: Leadership lessons learned

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.

Obstetrics services resuming October 5

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


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.

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.

HHS, IO Issue RFP for WLMH Redevelopment

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.

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!