By Trevor Busch
Westwind Weekly News
A major investment for Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge is expected to make a positive impact on the surrounding region for area residents.
In a recent announcement, the UCP is investing $11.2 million over the next three years to expand the renal dialysis program at CRH, in addition to a $2 million investment through Alberta Health Services (AHS) to plan for expanded cardiac services at the hospital.
“As our healthcare gets better, we’re going to need to have these these types of increased facilities,” said Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter. “And I think that it’s absolutely necessary for us to do that. A lot of the stuff that we’ve seen here in terms of development, I’ve advocated for this for some time now.”
As a part of the Alberta Surgical Initiative, construction will soon begin on a redevelopment at CRH that will modernize and double the existing surgical procedure capacity, as well as renovate the current medical device reprocessing area.
Schematic design—the first phase of the architectural design process—will begin this fall on the renovations for the renal dialysis area at CRH. This project is intended to help increase capacity and reduce wait times for patients waiting for dialysis treatment.
AHS will invest $2 million in 2023 to plan for expanded cardiac services at CRH. These new cardiac services are part of a plan to provide an improved array of services for patients in the region.
“It wasn’t until we actually made the decision as a government for Red Deer to be able to have that cath lab that we were able to go back and say, ‘well, listen if Red Deer is going to have it, then we should have it down here as well.’ And we made enough of an argument there, because we thought that they should have it and get what we needed,” said Hunter.
Construction of the Alberta Surgical Initiative extension at CRH is expected to be completed in the summer of 2024 and will support approximately 80 jobs in construction and the trades.
There are nine operating rooms currently at CRH. Once construction is complete, there will be one larger operating room and an additional room, as well as adding five new surgical inpatient rooms.
The renal dialysis project will create a new unit to address overcapacity in the existing unit by providing 28 hemodialysis stations plus two airborne isolation rooms, for a total of 30 stations, four examination rooms, five home dialysis training rooms/stations, a biotechnical room that will support nighttime dialysis, and additional space for family consultations, training, staff and supplies.
The design stage for the renal dialysis redevelopment at CRH will begin in the fall of 2023.
Once fully operational, the new catheterization lab at Chinook Regional Hospital will allow 1,500 to 1,700 patients per year from southern Alberta to remain within their home community for cardiac catheterization services.