Published in the Innisfail Province
Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014
By: Tim Lasiuta
The Innisfail Health Centre is not what it used to be with ongoing hundreds of thousands of dollars of upgrades in every area of the facility.
Site manager Suzanne Telford said she is proud of her team’s accomplishments over the last year with upgrades to equipment and modernization throughout the Innisfail Health Centre facility.
“Since I arrived here over a year ago, there have been an incredible amount of changes and we have come forward in leaps and bounds,” said Telford. “We opened the Central Alberta eyecentre in May of 2013, we have almost repainted the entire building, and we have upgraded equipment where possible.”
She said the provincial government investment of $200,000 was in addition to funds spent to implement the ophthalmology surgical program as part of an overall $16,700,000 plan announced in 2010 to provide more high-priority surgeries across the province.
Telford said the changes are evident as soon as you walk into the hospital, that include framed artwork from St. Marguerite Bourgeoys students and new flooring that provides safer traction for patients and visitors.
“With the addition of ophthalmology to Innisfail we have been able to perform 1,200 cataract procedures per year and divert 400 operations from other health centres providing good health care and an efficient use of our facility,” said Tammy McCubbing, area director for Alberta Health Services, Lacombe/Red Deer.
The ophthalmology outpatient clinic services include eye-related procedures such as blepharoplasty, capsulotomy, chalazion removals and diagnostic procedures, with the exception of pediatrics and surgeries requiring general anesthetic, which go to Red Deer added McCubbing.
Prior to the move last year, ophthalmology surgery was last done in the clinic in 2006.
The ophthalmology clinic has been busy, said McCubbing, noting a high degree of patient and staff satisfaction is being reported to administration through patient and staff evaluations.
Not only is the revamped hospital centrally located so patients do not have to travel to Calgary or Edmonton for surgery, reducing travel time and expenses, but there is the advantage of free parking.
“In terms of numbers of procedures performed at the ophthalmology clinic, our patient counts are high,” said McCubbing. “When we have clinic days there can be as many as 100 retinal procedures, 20 operations, and 40 cataract procedures. We expect that we will perform 1,200 cataract operations per year in our clinic.”
She noted the clinic has ophthalmology service from nine specialists, four from Red Deer and five from Edmonton’s Alberta Retina Consultants.
Innisfail Health Centre has also been the recipient of donated equipment such as a motorized stretcher and a multi-patient cardiac monitor, said McCubbing.
She pointed out the new $10,000 stretcher in emergency was equipped with a built-in scale to help emergency caregivers calculate drug dosages more quickly and accurately. The motorized unit enables care staff to concentrate on care rather than patient movement, said McCubbing.
The nurses’ station features a state-of-the-art cardiac monitor that displays information from up to six patients no matter where they are in the hospital. The same information is also viewable in emergency, ensuring around the clock observation.
“This enables our patients to have mobility while we are observing their vitals,” said McCubbing. “For those at risk, we can now watch them in motion or at rest and react more quickly if there is indication of trouble.”
Funds from the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation annual cattle round- up fundraiser helped purchase the $60,000 cardiac monitoring unit, which has been beneficial to patient care.
“Our facility has been upgraded over the last year,” said McCubbing. “With fresh paint in acute care, emergency, and continuing care, we have brightened the areas up. The flooring has been replaced, and we have redone palliative care with new furniture and paint as well.”
She noted that upgrades have been done with funds from the budget, government grants, and donated time and materials from the community. A Bentley company built and installed upgrades to the palliative care unit at no cost to the hospital, said Telford. She does not know the total cost of upgrades but does know that the total is substantial.
“There has been an amazing turnaround,” said McCubbing. “Our staff is excellent, and we have no vacancies. In fact, we have a full roster of casual caregivers as well. For a health centre to have that today, it is an accomplishment.
“We are here to offer service to the community and good quality health care to our patients,” said McCubbing. “Telford’s team is continually doing that.”