Moving Oakville's Hospital

Building a hospital anywhere is a massive undertaking. Moving a hospital is Herculean. That's the task on the agenda of Halton Healthcare this fall now that construction of the 1.6 million square foot “New” Oakville Hospital on Dundas Street and Third Line is complete ““ on time and on budget.

From September to December of this year, everything from the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH) must be transferred to the new facility, including the name. When the doors of the 65-year-old OTMH at 327 Reynolds Street close, shiny new ones open under the same banner retaining the historic significance and community association of the original Oakville hospital.

Moving, however, is not easy. According to Halton Healthcare, “Preparing the new hospital for occupancy involves extensive cleaning, setting up workstations and equipment, stocking supplies, testing and commissioning of building systems and technology, and orientation and training of more than 3,500 staff members, physicians and volunteers in a facility that is three times the size of their current workspace.”

All current services will be offered at the new facility, plus more that didn't have a home at the smaller hospital. The Halton Diabetes Program and Outpatient Mental Health Services, for instance, will be located at the new address. An additional cancer clinic is also part of the plan, adding services that haven't been available in Oakville before such as counseling, assessment, chemotherapy administration, blood transfusions and other oncology procedures (but not radiation treatments).

However, according to Paul McIvor, manager of Creative Services and Content, the cancer treatment centre will not be complete by the December opening date ““ the target is early 2016. “Staff,” he says, “is currently focused on migrating existing services to maintain continuity of care.”

What's in it for Oakville?

In addition to adding between 300 and 400 new jobs to the city, the new hospital offers 457 patient beds (with the ability to expand to 602), 2,000 parking spaces and the latest services and state-of-the-art equipment (the cost not covered by the province ““ more on that later). The new medical facility also has two notable on-trend features: First, 80 per cent of the rooms are single-patient rooms that have overnight sleeping areas to assist family involvement in care delivery. Second, a rooftop solar array will actually generate both energy and revenue for the hospital.

First, the single-patient rooms ““ these are currently viewed by many as the next necessity to improve patient recovery. From the beginning, McIvor says, they were a “design imperative.”

“Exemplary patient experience, always,” is the motto of the new OTMH, according to McIvor, “and this focus factored in the design of the hospital from the get go. There is currently a trend moving away from the 1950s approach of open wards. Private rooms serve the practical purpose of reducing the spread of infection.” Clearly, private is not only about comfort.

According to Halton Healthcare, “Not only do single-patient rooms increase privacy, studies also suggest that having one patient per room helps with reduced infection rates, reduced medical errors, quicker patient recovery rates, and increased patient safety and satisfaction.”

Other features of the room again appear at first glance as luxuries, but all serve a practical purpose: there are lighting and temperature controls in each room; anti-slip flooring; touch-free sink, soap dispenser and hand sanitizer; pull-out sleeper sofa for overnight family members; patient lifts above each bed; larger windows for more natural light and wider patient washroom doors.

According to Sylvia Rodgers, senior vice-president, Clinical Programs and chief nursing executive, “The research is clear ““ single patient rooms help reduce spread of infection, which translates into shorter and safer hospital stays,” she says. “They are also more comfortable for patients, with less noise and more privacy, and that can improve rest and recovery and contribute to a better patient experience.”

Secondly, green energy. Capitalizing on another trend, the New Oakville Hospital has stepped into the solar power circle. A 500 kWh photovoltaic solar array power system donated by HATCH, a Canadian engineering, procurement and construction management firm, has been installed on the parking garage roof. Thanks to the Ontario Power Authority's Feed-in Tariff Program, extra power generated by this array will produce a predicted $5 million during the next 20 years for The Hospital Foundation, the fundraising arm of the hospital.

It's an interesting idea, but the amount is a drop in the bucket considering the costs of a project this size. Thanks to some sizable donations ““ including $1.2 million from Gerry and Paula Coleman, $700,000 from Wayne and Isobel Fox and $250,000 from the Budd family ““ The Hospital Foundation is on target to raise $60 million during the Capital Campaign.

The money is for expenses not covered by the provincial government. Not everyone knows that hospitals in Ontario are expected to raise 10 per cent of the building costs as part of a “Local Share” program and this hospital did so with help from the municipality of Oakville. The hospital is also responsible for costs of new and replacement furniture and equipment, so continual revenue streams and fundraising efforts are necessary.

Finally, fundraising. In addition to summer and fall golf tournaments, the community has jumped on board with hospital fundraising. On October 12, 2015, both Oakville locations of the Sunset Grill (266 Hays Blvd., and 361 Cornwall Rd.) will donate 20 per cent of the day's sales. The Oakville Diwali volunteer committee will host its third annual Oakville Diwali Fundraising Gala in support of the hospital on September 25, 2015 at the Burlington Convention Centre. A big drumroll for the OTMH Candlelight Ball on November 7, 2015 at Burlington Convention Centre. This is the biggest single-day fundraising event and is sponsored by Barrington's Fine Outerwear and Murron's Cabintree.

The new OTMH opens December 13, 2015 and the public will get to view the city's new source of pride at a series of Open Houses scheduled in October. In the meantime, the “˜old' hospital remains open and fully functional. “While the new hospital may look open from the outside,” says Denise Hardene, president and CEO, Halton Healthcare, “there is still more work to be done to ensure the building is prepared to receive patients when it opens. Residents seeking medical care from our hospital should continue to come to the existing hospital location both for scheduled appointments and emergency care.”

By the Numbers
Stats about the New Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital

· 1.6 million square feet of space
· More than 39,000 pieces of equipment
· Capacity for 457 inpatient beds
· 3 MRIs   
· 2 CTs
· 2,000 parking spaces
· 36 elevators
· Automated laboratory capable of running 65 different tests simultaneously at a speed of up to 2 tests a minute (or 1 million tests a year)
· Pill picker robot can sort and package 2 million dosages a year
· 18 patient registration kiosks
· 650 toilets
· 1,775 hand sanitizer stations

By the Room
Anatomy of a Single-Patient Room

Hand Hygiene stations 
In each bathroom there's a touch-free sink, soap and sanitizer to ensure visitors have what they need entering and exiting the room.

Family Accommodations 
A pull-out sleeper sofa, chair, reading light and flat-screen T.V. in each room facilitates family involvement in care.

Anti-slip flooring
Helps prevent falls.

Larger Windows 
Increases natural light in the room.