After 50 years of treating patients, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s intensive care unit finds itself in need of some intensive care.
To bring this patient back to health, however, will require more than a makeover. In November 2018 the provincial government announced a $33-million budget to construct a completely new facility to replace NRGH’s outdated ICU.
The announced budget will cover the estimated construction costs, but the facility will still need to be outfitted with equipment, so the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation has launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history and has committed to raise $5 million for new ICU medical equipment.
“The ICU that we have is 50 years old. It hasn’t had an update in a long period of time. It’s long overdue,” said Janice Perrino, Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation CEO.
NRGH’s ICU is amongst the oldest in B.C. and serves more than 400,000 residents on Island north of the Malahat and ranks near the top of Canada’s ICUs for positive patient outcomes, according to the foundation’s campaign promotion literature.
“This is the most critical care that can be provided,” Perrino said. “It’s where we do all the ventilations … we handle everything from major car accidents to heart attacks to major infections like COVID-19. Thank God the government and the medical system was able to curve the pandemic because, had we had an influx, it would have been a very serious situation.”
The new ICU will be built where there is currently a parking lot between NRGH’s existing emergency department and the perinatal/renal building. The main floor will be home to a future high acuity unit. The second floor will be home to the ICU clinical space that will feature new patient rooms, private family consulting rooms, staff work and meeting areas, storage space and a visitor waiting area. Construction will take up to 18 months.
The first phase of the fundraising campaign will run about two years until the end of the building construction when the foundation will move on to a new fundraising phase.
“We absolutely have to get this done,” Perrino said. “We’re buying all the equipment, so that’s everything in the floors, the ceilings – everything from the monitors to ventilators, from computers to the beds. It’s everything all the staff use and have right at their fingertips to help keep it going.”
To learn more about the new NRGH ICU project or about ways to make donations, visit https://nanaimohospitalfoundation.com/.