Hospital renovations still on hold

While the dialysis unit at La Verendrye hospital is shaping up, further plans for hospital renovations are up in the air, said Wayne Woods, CEO of Riverside Health Care Facilities.
“We’re still working out the kinks,” said Woods on Monday, referring to the communications the administration and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care have had over the summer.
The $8 million-plus job will include improvements or total overhauls to the x-ray department, emergency room, operating rooms, and lab, and a new location for the dialysis unit on the south side of the building.
“Well, because we’ve expanded the project from what the original project was, we’re still working out the changes,” said Woods, adding he couldn’t say how long it would be until a clearer picture was available.
“It really depends on how fast we and the Ministry can work things out,” he added.
The renovations will be funded by both the wildly successful Riverside Foundation for Health Care’s “Care Close to Home” campaign and the provincial government.
In the meantime, renovations near completion on the dialysis unit being built at the hospital here, with a target date set for next month.
“Everything’s ready to go for Sept. 10. I don’t necessarily know who’s going to be using it, but I’m sure Dr. [Bill] McCready [of Thunder Bay Regional Hospital] has told patients,” noted Woods.
Staff from both here and Thunder Bay will administer services at the new unit.
He added he was pleased to see the project, which administration has taken years to land here, come to fruition. “I won’t be able to feel the same way [district patients] will about it. But it’s a great boon to the district to be able to provide this sort of care,” enthused Woods.
 Once operational, up to 24 district patients will benefit from the unit’s services. Woods said he knows of about 20 currently in need of the treatments.
The unit, located in the day hospital area of the first floor of the building, will eventually be relocated to the new south wing once the overall hospital renovations are completed in the next year or so.
 The treatments will be offered six days a week.
 Many district patients currently travel to Thunder Bay for treatment three days a week.
 The unit is made possible through government funding, as well as money raised by the Aboriginal Dialysis Unit Initiative and Riverside Foundation for Health Care’s “Care Close to Home” campaign.