Port Moody hospital campaign to help limit the spread of airborne illnesses

A fundraising campaign to help contain the spread of airborne infectious diseases in Eagle Ridge Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) will help patients, visitors and staff breathe a little easier.

As part of the expansion and redevelopment of Eagle Ridge Hospital, which includes the Emergency Department and is expected to be completed in late 2021, two Airborne Isolation Suites will be built within the ED and the hospital’s Foundation is currently campaigning to raise $225,000 to help support the build of one of the new facilities.  Overall, Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation has committed to raising $5 million to the total project cost of $27.6 million for the expansion.

“When patients come to the Emergency Department they may be unaware they are suffering from an infectious disease or other respiratory condition, putting other patients, their families and the staff at risk,” says Dr. Peter Macdonald, an Emergency Physician at Eagle Ridge Hospital.

Dr. Macdonald adds that, “the whole idea behind such facilities as the Airborne Isolation Suites is that they will have negative pressure air handling capabilities dedicated to each suite, so a patient who poses an infectious risk to the rest of the patient population and the staff can be placed there to protect everybody else.”

Currently, the hospital has a makeshift room serving as an isolation-capable room that is not outfitted with features that the new airborne isolation suites will have. For example, the Airborne Isolation Suites will each have dedicated ensuite washrooms and dedicated spaces where staff can don protective gear.  This means that protective and potentially contaminated clothing doesn’t need to leave the room.

“In an era experiencing a resurgence of infectious illnesses, such as measles and chickenpox, plus other serious diseases like tuberculosis and the influenza virus, the addition of dedicated isolation spaces is needed more than ever to protect our community,” says Charlene Giovannetti-King, Executive Director of Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation.

“Infection prevention is a significant challenge within the high-volume setting of any Emergency Department.  When infected patients await diagnosis and treatment within close proximity of others, not only are they at risk of becoming more ill due to their compromised state of health, they are exposing others to a potentially contagious disease,” says Dr. Macdonald.

Faced with that challenge, the first priority of the Emergency Department health care team is to isolate patients with suspected or confirmed airborne infectious illnesses in the safety of an Airborne Isolation Suite.

For more information about Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation’s fundraising campaigns, visit online at erhf.ca/emergency.

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