“The emergency health care team is really excited about the South Shore Regional redevelopment project. Our team’s goal is always to provide timely quality care to meet the wide range of needs of our community. The new Emergency Department will help us continue to achieve this.”

– Dr. Greg McNally MD, CCFP

When every moment counts

A medical emergency is the exact moment in time when the design and functionality of an Emergency Department is critical to the ability of medical, nursing and allied health professionals to deliver the very best care to patients.

On any given day in our current Emergency Department you may find an elderly patient who has suffered a fall, a young child spiking an unexplained fever, a patient suffering from mental health challenges, or someone who has been transported by ambulance as the result of a vehicular accident.

There is no time to waste. When getting a loved one from a critical to stable condition, every second counts.

The current Emergency Department was built to care for considerably fewer patients than the almost 20,000 annually that it sees today. It is crowded with insufficient space for triage, patient isolation, ambulance offloading, diagnostics, patient treatment, and storage of medical supplies. As patients to our Emergency Department will attest, our highly trained health professional teams are doing their best in surroundings that are far less than optimal.

Our new Emergency Department will be approximately triple the square footage currently available. The expanded capacity will help support improved wait times for patients. Patients and families will benefit from a much larger, state-of-the-art facility that is streamlined and designed to support patient-centred care.

The new Department will increase triage capacity to include two patient triage stations and 20 patient treatment spaces. Each treatment space will be universally designed, with essential medical equipment and supplies close at hand. Private rooms with glass doors will replace curtains, increase patient privacy, and support best practices regarding infection control.

Patients will experience a private, more streamlined admittance process for both walk-in patients and those arriving by ambulance, who will benefit from a new 4-vehicle, weather-protected ambulance bay. The medical staff and other health professionals will have the equipment and space to more efficiently begin preliminary work-ups like blood work or EKGs. The trauma rooms of the new ED will be in close proximity to important diagnostic tools such as the CT scanner.

The new space was designed to support our patients’ care needs (like the frail and those with mobility challenges), while supporting the presence of family members. These changes will allow patients to be treated in a more comfortable, private environment aiming to reduce wait times, improve patient flow, as well as improving infection prevention and control practices. We will be better equipped to meet each Emergency patient’s unique needs.

Endoscopy Expansion

“The vital expansion of the Endoscopy Unit at South Shore Regional Hospital  will ensure the continued success of performing high volume and high quality endoscopy. The new Endoscopy Unit will be designed to ensure patients have the very best treatment experience possible with respect, dignity and privacy.” – Dr. Hughie Fraser, MD, FRCPC Gastroenterologist

A calm and caring experience

Endoscopy is a minimally invasive medical procedure where a ‘scope’ (thin, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end) is introduced into the body in order to look at internal organs and structures. “Endo” procedures are routinely conducted for a broad array of diagnoses.

While a fairly common procedure, it is one that some patients find daunting and stressful. Anxiety during endoscopy is a widely researched area, as it often impacts the outcome of the endoscopy, the ease of the procedure itself and whether or not it will need to be repeated; keeping calm and relaxed can make passage of the scope easier and less uncomfortable.

Helping patients manage their individual stress response during a scope is key. That’s difficult to do when you are awaiting a procedure and are in close physical proximity to other patients undergoing procedures.

Our new Endoscopy Unit will move out of a single, small room with no waiting area currently located behind the Emergency Department, into a bright new, functional, purpose-built, patient-friendly space that is six times the size of the current Endoscopy space.

It will include a dedicated negative pressure room—a requirement for bronchoscopes—that also allows for patient isolation if required. Essential private patient washrooms will be abundant, and the new unit will accommodate both endoscopy and urology procedures. Two procedure rooms and a dedicated recovery area will fully support the over 2,400 scope procedures conducted each year at the Hospital.

One Family’s story

“It was like an out of body experience. We need to have the most effective Emergency Department and diagnostic equipment to deliver the best care possible, every time, for someone else’s child, spouse, friend or neighbour.”

– Rodney Grace, Matt’s father

In December 2019 Matthew Grace was a young man from Nova Scotia just starting out in life. He had been working out West and was excited to travel back to the South Shore to spend the holidays with family and friends.

Matthew had stayed with friends in Nova Scotia before heading home. Eagerly awaiting the arrival of their son, Tina and Rodney Grace’s telephone rang. Then their world stopped.

It was one of the friends with whom Matt had stayed the previous night. Matt was making unusual sounds and they couldn’t wake him. They were frantic and wanted to know what to do.

“Call 911.”

Paramedics found Matt unresponsive and struggling to breathe. He was quickly prepped for transport and rushed to South Shore Regional Hospital. First responders tried unsuccessfully to establish an airway en route.

What Tina and Rodney did not yet know was that Matt had hit his head the night before, and unknowingly suffered a traumatic brain injury. Matt was fighting for his life.

Upon arrival at South Shore Regional’s Emergency Department, doctors were able to intubate Matt, conduct a CT scan and establish a treatment plan. A neurosurgical team in Halifax was alerted and mobilized, and the South Shore Regional emergency team prepared Matt to be transported by life flight helicopter. The neurosurgeon in Halifax didn’t mince words: five minutes delay could irrevocably change Matt’s outcome. They needed to get him stable to survive a Life Flight to Halifax for surgery.

Matt got home four months following surgery and got to work on his recovery. He has made tremendous progress in rehabilitation, learning to walk, move and speak again. Our community wrapped its arms around Matt and his family from the moment he arrived in the Emergency Department.

Day Surgery Upgrades

“Expanding the Day Surgery Unit will enhance the patient and family experience by offering more comfort and dignity during what can be a very stressful time. With dedicated spaces for assessment and consultations it will also improve privacy and patient flow within the unit.”

– Melanie Nauss, RN BScN, Manager Perioperative & Surgical Wait Time

Operating better

Every day at South Shore Regional Hospital, lives are saved and improved in a space designed and built for fewer patients than we now serve.

One of the most marked improvements to the patient experience in the newly redeveloped South Shore Regional will be the expansion and upgrading of the Day Surgery Unit.

Each year, about 3,000 surgical procedures are performed here: gynaecological, orthopaedic, oral, plastics, general surgery, ophthalmology, ENT (ear, nose, throat), and some pediatric surgeries as well.

While any surgical procedure can naturally bring with it some anxiety, some procedures, such as cancer surgeries, place a heavy emotional burden on patients. It is in these moments that we most want our space to enhance the patient experience by offering the best in terms of comfort, privacy and dignity.

Currently, floor space with the Day Surgery Unit is limited, which can create challenges for comfort and privacy as well as patient flow. The new expanded space will include dedicated private patient consult rooms, private pre-op and recovery spaces, and increased pre-assessment capacity. It will offer more space for family or supporters to accompany a loved one who may be undergoing a procedure during a time of great personal anxiety.

The fully redeveloped department will be triple the size of our existing space. It will be a single purpose area with only one entry point for the public.

There will be larger and better space for attending family and friends, as well as a dedicated paediatric surgery waiting room and dedicated break room for staff.