“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.

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.