Lakeshore General Hospital unveils new ICU as it struggles with staff shortages, overcrowding

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Health-care access: West Island hospital unveils new intensive care unit
WATCH: The Lakeshore General Hospital in Pointe-Claire unveiled its new intensive care unit Tuesday. The $8.9-million project took more than two years to complete. But as Gobal's Felicia Parrillo reports, there are questions over whether the new unit will help improve the delivery of care at the hospital – Dec 20, 2022

The new intensive care unit at the Lakeshore General Hospital is being billed as a state-of-the-art facility.

Staff say the new space is more modern and functional for both patients and employees.

“There’s an upgrade in the physical capabilities,” said Dr. Francesco Ramadori, chief of the critical care program for the CIUSSS West Island. “The rooms are bigger and there’s access to the patient 360 degrees with all the utilities coming down from the ceiling instead of the wall, so we can get up to the patient with nothing in our way.”

Other new features include computers for nurses to access patients’ files, dialysis machines in all 15 rooms, and a new light system to help staff know when a nurse is attending to a patient or needs help.

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Head nurse of the ICU, Sophie Caron, says she hopes the new space will help attract more personnel to the unit, which, like most places in the health-care system, is struggling with staffing shortages.

“We’re going to increase the amount of nurses who are going to want to work here,” she said. “It’s more functional and with all the windows, that’s going to bring us some sun every day. It’s going to be very good for our souls.”

The union representing employees at the Lakeshore Hospital certainly hopes so.

It says the ICU is currently understaffed; employees are tired and overworked.

“It’s very nice to have nice shiny equipment, but how is this going to guarantee safe, quality care when you don’t have the bodies, you don’t have the staff to do that care,” said Kristina Hoare, vice-president of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ).

On top of that, the hospital is still struggling with overcrowding issues.

Ramadori says the West Island health authority is constantly trying to find ways to mitigate the issue.

“The leadership is very proactive,” said Ramadori. “They are meeting several times a day, going over the situations, trying to really move patients actively through the hospital and other care centres.”

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Ramadori says the hospital plans to convert the former ICU into a cardiac unit, in hopes of offloading pressure on the emergency room in the future.

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