Skip to content

Major parts of hospital move go smoothly

As smooth as a hospital bedsheet. That's how the move into the new Humboldt District Health Complex has gone so far. Though things are still busy within the new building, staff are settling in, and a few firsts have already been recorded.

As smooth as a hospital bedsheet.
That's how the move into the new Humboldt District Health Complex has gone so far.
Though things are still busy within the new building, staff are settling in, and a few firsts have already been recorded.
They've had their first birth, and their first death in the new building, reported Yvonne Berscheid, site manager for the Humboldt District Hospital (HDH) when she sat down for a few minutes with the Journal on April 18.
The move actually began on April 6, Berscheid explained, when half of the X-ray department moved over, along with information technology, spiritual care, and the Humboldt District Hospital Foundation offices.
On April 7, some inpatient beds were moved over, cleaned and set up, so they were ready to receive patients. One of the labour and delivery rooms was also set up, as was the itinerant clinic space.
Health records also began their move on April 7.
"That took a long time," Berscheid said. "Three days, for sure. They brought over... thousands of charts.... It went on for days."
On April 8, the pharmacy, sterile processing department and the operating rooms were moved over. The pharmacy was actually unpacked over that weekend, Berscheid noted.
On April 11, health records continued to move, along with the HDH mailroom, and food services.
Moving the kitchen was a big one, Berscheid said. While they were moving equipment over and setting up in the new hospital, patients remained at the old hospital, so it took a bit of planning to ensure they were still fed.
The patients were given a cold breakfast, a hot lunch courtesy of the kitchen staff at St. Mary's Villa, and then a cold supper. The Villa kitchen also did the Meals on Wheels program for the hospital kitchen while they were getting things hooked up and organized in the new building, as much of their equipment came over from the old place.
April 12 was D-Day for the move. This was the day to move the emergency room, inpatients and the front desk.
It was an important day.
"It couldn't have gone smoother," Berscheid said with a smile. "It went very smooth."
They were prepared for anything that could happen, with contingency plans in place for any disaster. But none came to pass.
Emergency rooms at both facilities were actually both staffed that morning. The one in the new building was opened at 8 a.m., ready to receive patients, while the other stayed open until the last patient left. Staff at both places were also packing up or unpacking, depending on which building they were in.
Fate was smiling on them that morning, as between 7:30 a.m and 9:30 a.m., no patients came into the emergency room at the new facility.
That gave staff some extra time to get organized, Berscheid said, which was useful, as after their two-hour lull, they received 22 patients in three hours.
Later in the morning on April 12, the 11 inpatients in the old HDH moved over to the new building.
They did succeed in getting down to below half their patient census, Berscheid noted - in fact, three patients were discharged the morning before the move.
About half of those inpatients, those who were somewhat mobile, were moved over in wheelchairs and taken in the City's Handi-bus. Six more were transferred to the new facility by ambulance.
On April 13, the lab, therapies and chronic disease management departments were moved, along with ultrasound and laundry.
On April 14, the second half of the X-ray department was moved over - this department had been open in both facilities for about a week - along with the health region administration staff.
This was also the day that the operating room was officially opened. Dr. Seshadri, a general surgeon, performed the first procedure that day.
On April 15, materials management moved into the new building, as did housekeeping and the central scheduling department that had been located in St. Mary's Villa.
Moving materials management was a huge job, Berscheid said, as the Humboldt site has stores for 18 other rural health centres in the Saskatoon Health Region. Staff in that department worked all weekend to get everything in and organized, she noted.
On April 18 and 19, Community Services were moving into their part of the new health complex. Addictions services, Mental Health and Public Health were moved on Monday, and Home care on Tuesday.
Overall, it's gone smoothly, Berscheid admitted, something she feels was due to how well it was planned.
"The departments did a lot of pre-planning... a lot (of talking) about work processes and work flows.... It helped get the departments settled quicker and easier," she said.
It was a very good thing they took the time to do that planning, she noted.
"It's a real hats off to the staff," she said, "for how everyone pitched together to make such a big undertaking go so smoothly."
Involving the staff in planning the move was a good move, Berscheid feels.
"They took ownership of their areas and understood (what and why things were happening). That makes it a lot easier to adjust (to a new space)."
It's been a busy time, absolutely, for local health care staff. But the atmosphere in the new building has been "upbeat," Berscheid said.
"People have been excited to move over.... It's been really co-operative, and a really nice atmosphere to be in for the past couple of weeks.
"It was very busy and at times stressful, but it really went fast. When those moving trucks come in, it's amazing how fast things go," she noted.
There were some long days and hard work, "but everyone pitched in so well together," she added.
Berscheid had thanks for the public, as well.
"People have been very patient and understanding" she noted, and the staff appreciate it.
Since inpatients moved in, Berscheid has been doing rounds every morning, visiting each department and seeing if they are having any issues with equipment or the building. She then brings those issues to a meeting, where they are logged, prioritized and assigned, usually to either the information technology or maintenance departments to deal with.
This seems to work well, she noted, because there's a process to follow.
"We want to do this (in an) orderly way," she noted.
Old hospital
Walking around the old hospital on April 13 was strange. There were only a handful of workers left in the building, and no patients. The emergency room was silent. Lights were off on most of the upper floors. And everywhere, there were messages written on the walls by staff members.
Some relate personal stories - how long staff members worked in the facility - while others record lasts - the last time the front doors were locked, the last time a patient was brought in to the emergency room, and the time the last patient left.
"It was a way of saying good-bye," Berscheid said of writing on the walls.
It was somewhat sad leaving the old building, she agreed, especially for those who had worked there a long time. But people did have time to reflect and say goodbye to the old building, and by the time moving day arrived, there was definite excitement about getting into the new building, she added.
They did have a farewell to the old building service on March 31, Berscheid added, and they hope to hold a staff supper in the old place before it is knocked down.
The old hospital will be turned over to a demolition crew at the beginning of May. The crew will be salvaging what they can from the building - things like doors and other parts that can be re-used. Then the building will be knocked down.
HDH staff will be going back to do a last walk around the building, to see if there is anything else that should be moved - things that may have been left behind in the busyness of the move, Berscheid reported.
For the most part, the old hospital is now empty.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks