Queensway Carleton Hospital

Transforming healthcare

Modernization describes the transformational efforts taking place at Ottawa’s Queensway Carleton Hospital.

In a redevelopment of its facilities and services to meet the growing healthcare needs of the Ottawa Region, Queensway Carleton Hospital has embarked upon the third phase of its extensive renovation project, one that originally began in the 1998. Phase 3 is the largest of the additions and renovations to be undertaken, with four storeys and 140,000 additional square feet to be occupied by spring 2012.

The expansion will include new operating rooms, expanded ambulatory care, rehabilitation services, physiotherapy areas, and satellite dialysis units, including 15 treatment bays, to serve 100 patients on an ongoing basis, as well as renovations to the pharmacy and laboratory departments. A 70,000 square foot renovation of existing facilities supports Queensway Carleton’s emerging mandate for cancer care, including a diagnostic imaging renovation. The second storey, meanwhile, is entirely surgical hall, providing 10 new operating rooms, new recovery, surgical, plus other support facilities.

Such a modernization will provide a state-of-the-art atmosphere, and is a significant updating of this 1976-built hospital.

“The environments will be better. The operating rooms, for example, will be larger. They will be well wired, lighted, and ventilated. There will be an integrated capability to read medical records, images that assist during the surgeries, and none of those technologies existed when the hospital was built,” said Peter Thompson, Director of Planning, Queensway Carleton Hospital.

The overall purchasing value of such a project, according to Thompson, is $131 million, with the community funding 10 per cent of the cost of construction, as well as 100 per cent of hospital equipment costs. The expansion, as Thompson estimated, is about one-third of the existing square footage, characterized as “significant culturally, physically, and certainly a modernization that will help us provide services to the community.”

Updated and upgraded services

The expansion and renovation is all part of a master plan mapped out for the growth of the Queensway Carleton campus through 2030.

“We will come back into the main hospital and create a new pharmacy that will be significantly bigger and will allow us to package drugs and distribute them in a manner that addresses the risks associated with medication errors and new patient specific IV additives,” Thompson said.

“There will be some minor renovations to the lab and then significant expansion in our diagnostic imaging department—about a three-fold expansion in that department—with a second MRI, a second CT, additional nuclear medicine, and a biopsy unit…so significant growth in diagnostic imagery.”

The growth comes from instruction from the Health Services Restructuring Commission, which toured the Province of Ontario in the mid-1990s, signaling renovations, developments, and the occasional closure at a number of hospitals across Ontario. At Queensway Carleton, it is anticipated the additions will be completed by early 2012, with complete renovations to follow in 12 to 18 months from that time.

Queensway Carleton has transformed from a generic suburban community hospital to become a significant player in the healthcare sector, not only in the Ottawa community, but Eastern Ontario. It’s a true transformation for a generic hospital to a cutting-edge healthcare facility. The setting is much more electronic, with the new renovated spaces retrofitted with wireless systems enabling Queensway Carleton to take the next step forward in offering integrated electronic medical records. “Physicians are walking around with Tablets in their hands!” Thompson beamed.

The green emphasis

With such an extensive renovation comes an emphasis on the environment and a desire to build green. Queensway Carleton knows the importance of sustainability and how to best utilize its new space.

“Hospitals in Ontario try to respect LEED standards. Future hospitals [in Ontario] will be built to LEED Silver standard, but first the Ministry needs to get to the point where they can fund at that level,” Thompson said.

“Hospitals are not great examples of efficiency because they tend to be over-ventilated, relative to a standard office building or a mall, but we tend to have higher rates of energy use just because there is so much activity in a concentrated space and, of course, we are open 24/7. When Queensway Carleton was originally designed, energy was relatively cheap.”

Such a makeover leads to specialization, with the role of Queensway Carleton now leaning toward high emergency volumes, cancer, birthing, and artificial joints. Queensway Carleton has emerged as a significant treatment centre for breast, bowel, and prostate cancer.

“We are building to support that role. As you become bigger, you become specialized, and this project will be an event that forces us into the future,” Thompson said. “We’re embracing it and we’re looking forward to it because it is such a good thing for the community.”