CEEH rooms being renovated now

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Mike Lapaine, president CEO of Bluewater Health, announces in 2017 a $7.5 million provincial grant to continue planning and redeveloping CEE Hospital.

Redevelopment plans changed but work progressing: Lapaine

Heather Wright
The Independent

The head of Bluewater Health says you will soon see physical signs of construction at Petrolia’s hospital.
But the plans are different than were first envisioned as the infrastructure of Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital needed work first.
When the province announced $7.5 million for a 25 year capital plan which would transform the hospital in 2017, the emergency department was expected to be renovated first. It had been built to accommodate 7,000 patients a year and was taking in over 22,000.
But in 2018, officials signalled the infrastructure of the building, including the electrical and heating systems, were failing. That’s when the project pivoted according to Hospital CEO Mike Lapaine.
Bluewater Health applied to the province for emergency infrastructure cash and began working.
“I know it looks like to an outsider ‘What happened to that project? Nothing has been going on.’ And in fairness, the progress was put on idle so we could fix the infrastructure pieces,” he says.
“Although it’s taken a little longer, we’ve got a lot more work (done) so the $7.5 million in assets could turn into almost $15 million in projects because of all these infrastructure, other grants, we’ve applied to it.”

That work, says Lapaine, is 90 per cent complete.
So now, Bluewater Health is turning its attention to renovating the 19 bed acute medicine wing of the hospital. The rooms, Lapaine says, are old and small and don’t meet today’s standards.
With no land available near the wing to expand, the unit will become a 15-bed unit including one palliative care room and one ward room, he says.
“The difference in the space is really to accommodate the new standards…those rooms that are there now, aren’t big enough for what you would need. So, to get the room in a finite amount of space, it means we’ll go to 15 beds.”
Lapaine says it will not hurt the operations of the hospital.
“Our average occupancy, there was 7.6 beds a day. So, having 10 or 15 beds, is more than enough even to deal with surges.”
“That’s still adequate to deal with the current demands. Hospitals more and more over time for the last 50 years have been shrinking the number of beds they have because more and more things that the hospital do can be done on an ambulatory care basis, or they require shorter lengths of stay.”
Lapaine expects the renovations on the medicine wing to be complete in March.
Hospital officials are also actively planning the redevelopment of the emergency department, hoping to be ready to take advantage of any government funding that is available.
Lapaine couldn’t say how long it would be before construction would start on the ER.