What’s Up @ WLMH: May 2020

Hospital services starting to gradually resume in Ontario

Earlier this week, Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) plan to gradually resume clinical services was approved by Ontario Health. Many services, including surgeries and other procedures, were paused during the initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s the message we shared with our staff.

This approval means we will now start gradually booking appointments for some procedures, prioritizing care for patients based on the severity and urgency of their medical needs. Patients will be contacted directly by the hospital or their doctor about the timing of their care, when an appointment for them is available.

West Niagara residents will continue to receive procedures at other HHS sites. The operating rooms at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital are undergoing critical safety upgrades and are scheduled to re-open this fall.

We will provide further updates as this process moves forward, but you can also stay up-to-date here.

Progress on important safety upgrades at WLMH

Completed:

  • Laboratory upgrades, like electrical, lighting and millwork
  • Parking lot resurfacing completed; lighting is being installed

Upcoming:

  • Work on Endoscopy Reprocessing starting June 1
  • Operating Room/Intensive Care Unit work starting June 15

West Niagara municipal Councils show continued support for the new WLMH

This month, local municipalities (Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln) each passed a motion of commitment to the local share financing required for the construction of a new hospital. This commitment is a critical part of the hospital planning process. We thank each of the Councils and Mayors for their continued support of this important project.

During the coming weeks, staff and physicians at WLMH will help develop detailed plans for the new hospital. Their input will help to ensure that that future health care service delivery needs are translated into the design and construction of the new hospital by providing clinical, technical, operational, programmatic, and equipment information.

Check out our newly released feature sheets to help keep you informed about the road ahead. Find out how new hospitals are financed in Ontario and the government’s process for building new infrastructure.

What’s Up @ WLMH: April 2020

Projects continue during COVID-19 response

Teams across Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) have worked hard to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following provincial direction, this includes decreasing outpatient care, diagnostic services and non-emergency surgery, combined with moving as many non-acute patients as possible to community settings to free up hospital beds.

WLMH has played an important role in this COVID-19 capacity planning and preparations while maintaining important acute services for patients and the community. Staff and physicians have demonstrated flexibility, resilience and professionalism during this evolving situation. 

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, progress continues to be made on infrastructure projects and new hospital planning. 

Designing a new WLMH

While staff, physicians and hospital leaders continue to focus on the response to COVID-19, plans remain on track to meet government submission timelines.

HHS’ Capital Planning team continues to work with Infrastructure Ontario, Ministry of Health, consultants, and other partners, to advance plans for the new hospital.  As soon as it is safe and practical to do so, staff and physician user groups will come together to provide input on key components of the stage 2 submission. The ongoing leadership provided by provincial and local government partners to support this work is appreciated.

Contractors hitting milestones

Visitor restrictions in the hospital have impacted some internal work associated with infrastructure projects. However, outside the building, contractors are reaching project milestones, including:

•    Commissioning the cooling tower 
•    Completing the wiring needed for the second generator
•    Planning for lab upgrades
•    Laying the concrete pad for the operating room(OR)/endoscopy area air handling unit, to be delivered on May 1, 2020. 

Work also continues with the contractor to review and adapt plans for renovations, including OR and endoscopy.

CT scanner selected 

The clinical team has completed the review process to select the type of CT scanner that will best serve the community. A consultant has been hired to design the space for the machine and work continues to move forward. Once plans are approved by the Ministry, and other infrastructure and OR renovations are complete, construction for the CT scanner suite will begin.

Thank you for your support!


We’re so grateful for our supportive community which continues to stand with our staff and physicians during this challenging time. 

What’s Up @ WLMH: COVID-19

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
Hospital access

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. 

Patient care

 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. 

Follow us on social media

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.
Twitter: @HamHealthSci
Instagram: HamiltonHealthSciences
Facebook: @HamHealthSci

Planning team hits ground running

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.

Another milestone achieved toward a new hospital for West Niagara

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.

We have a good plan for West Lincoln Memorial Hospital

By Dr. Mat Noble Wohlgemut

As the Interim Medical Director at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital, I would like to update the community on the status of our hospital, including some current challenges and our ongoing planning for the new hospital.

Over the last seven months, local leaders from the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital site of Hamilton Health Sciences have been working along with their management colleagues on a working group. This working group was given the task of coming up with a plan that would allow us to continue to provide safe, high quality care despite the limitations of an aging hospital.

The group worked through every option we could think of, brought in outside experts to offer their perspective and suggestions, and carefully considered the issues at hand. Although there are still many details being finalized, the working group arrived at a consensus for a plan that would ensure that programs and services remained intact while we do the necessary work to upgrade our facilities.

The first steps in the plan involve creating new space for the storage of sterile supplies in one of our two operating rooms, and in the labour and delivery area. We are still coordinating the many moving parts required to make this happen smoothly, so the dates and duration of the work will be finalized shortly. We are sorting out the best way to make these fixes happen quickly, while minimizing any downtime or impact on programs, community and staff.

The next steps in the plan involve working with the Ministry of Health to upgrade both the endoscope reprocessing and the surgical areas to allow us to return to running our two operating rooms with 24/7 availability as is our norm. We will continue to aggressively recruit and retain nurses to make this aspect of the plan work.

We have all agreed and acknowledged that the best fix to an old hospital is a new hospital. Planning work continues to move forwards on the new hospital. I am hopeful, given the clearly expressed commitment of MPP Sam Oosterhoff and Premier Doug Ford, that we will be able to make that goal a reality as quickly as possible.

The renovations that we are currently planning are necessary. We cannot wait until the new hospital is built. We are doing this work so that we can continue to provide our highly-valued obstetrics and surgical care in our community, and also address the risks of working in an old building. We are all committed to keep programs and services at WLMH through this process and carry them over into our new hospital. Through our collaborative work we have arrived at a good plan that allows us to do exactly that.

We have a tremendous medical and professional staff team that provides excellent care to our community. Our model of care is a wonderful example of what integrated, wrap-around care from cradle to end of life can look like in a small community hospital. This is worth getting right.

Dr. Mat Noble Wohlgemut is the interim site medical director at WLMH