New ICU in Fredericton scheduled to open in February

Click to play video: 'New ICU in Fredericton scheduled to open in February'
New ICU in Fredericton scheduled to open in February
WATCH: Horizon health network has unveiled a new intensive care unit at the dr. Everett Chalmers hospital in Fredericton. The new facility will be able to accommodate 12 patients and state-of-the-art equipment. Nathalie Sturgeon has a look inside the new unit. – Jan 27, 2023

The Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital is opening a new intensive care unit beginning next month as part of a $250-million renovation project to the facility.

It is a new 12-bed unit that has state-of-the-art equipment, proper areas for families and walls of windows to improve patients’ well-being while they recover.

“This new space is impressive,” said Horizon Health Network interim president and CEO Margaret Melanson. “It will improve the care experience of our patients, families, staff and physicians.”

Partial opening in February

As the health authority grapples with a human resource crisis, it said it will only be able to use seven of the 12 beds when it opens on Feb. 14, with the goal to reach eight beds by March.

The unit requires 20 nursing positions.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re very comfortable that we will have the staff that we need at least to begin to use this ICU, and then move to, of course, the full 12 beds of use as quickly as possible,” Melanson said, speaking to reporters Friday.

The new modernized ICU will have greater space with improved technology that did not exist in the facility’s current intensive care unit. Nathalie Sturgeon / Global News

Health Minister Bruce Fitch was on hand for the announcement and said he believes the improvements to the ICU will attract nurses and professionals.

The latest health and medical news emailed to you every Sunday.

“Having a good facility like this, having that investment, I think will attract people into the area and also retain people that are working,” he said.

Modernized equipment

The unit has modernized equipment including motorized lifts that can help nurses move patients as needed within a room.

Amy McCavour, Horizon’s co-leader of surgical and intensive care, spoke about other treatments that will be available in this unit that aren’t in the current ICU.

Story continues below advertisement

“One of the additions that we’re doing here now is continuous renal replacement therapy, so the new space will allow us to do that,” she said. “The equipment is more technical and it’s bigger and we need more space in order to keep up with the best practices.”

Another element, which was born out of the pandemic, was the ability to cut off part of the unit from another.

It also has a special area for families to rest and take time while caring for their loved ones in the ICU. Nathalie Sturgeon / Global News

Dr. Zeeshan Aslam said COVID-19 showed them the facility needed negative pressure rooms to help isolate patients with the virus – and other respiratory viruses that are airborne.

“We have negative pressure rooms but in case we need more for more patients, we can expand them, and close these doors down,” he said. “Then we’ll have a whole area that will take only COVID-19 patients. If someone else comes in with non-COVID, they will be taken care of on the other side.”

Story continues below advertisement

Ventilation was also critical in building the unit – something experts have long warned is necessary in combating COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

The remaining renovations for the modernization of the environment in maternal and newborn care, surgical care, and day surgery are scheduled to be finished by 2024, with renovations for ambulatory procedures, phlebotomy and health records services scheduled for completion in 2028.

Sponsored content