The mobile medical unit served as the Fraser Canyon Hospital’s emergency room for nine weeks. (Provincial Health Services Authority photo)

Fraser Canyon Hospital ER renovations finished

Mobile medical unit served 1,251 patients while serving as Hope’s temporary ER

Renovations are finished at Fraser Canyon Hospital and the mobile medical unit that served as Hope’s temporary emergency room has moved on.

The mobile medical unit (MMU) spent nine weeks in Hope serving 1,251 patients, according to Peter Hennecke, clinical operations director of the unit.

“During this time, as we had limited space, we encouraged (residents) to utilize other community care options,” Catherine Weibe, director of clinical operations at Fraser Canyon Hospital, stated Dec. 15. She added the number of patients seen in the mobile unit was 15 per cent less than the same time last year.

The unit didn’t see any babies delivered, as has happened in previous deployments, but it did provide a space for the Fraser Canyon Hospital emergency room to conduct its work.

In October, Fraser Canyon Hospital director Catherine Wiebe said all those visiting the ER would be seen at the mobile unit, except actively psychotic patients and maternity patients who would be transferred to Chilliwack.

Hennecke said the unit is basically a mobile hospital, facing the same challenges as a hospital on a smaller scale.

“Everything from making sure all the electrical is actually connected…The IT systems had to work, so all the telephone and network cables. And then, of course, it rained a lot, so it got very muddy outside.”

The challenges faced during the MMU’s time in Hope were resolved quickly, Hennecke said. Wiebe stated the operation of the mobile unit ensured there was limited disruption at the hospital during construction.

After a 153 day deployment in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where the unit had 24/7 security, staff were experienced with safety procedures for the medical unit. Some safety measures were implemented in Hope as well.

“Because the hospital doesn’t have security there throughout the daytime they only have it at nighttime, we had to plan for that,” Hennecke said. “We didn’t want any theft happening and so we accounted for that. We had fencing erected all the way around our unit, we had external lighting set up as well and we had a system of communications and radios for staff safety.”

The unit was in Hope during ER renovations including an upgrade to an Omnicell automated medication dispensing system and upgrades to workspaces.

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