North Bay General Hospital: Glenn Scanlan, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Support Services

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North Bay General Hospital (NBGH) has a tradition of caring for the families of North Bay and surrounding area. Before planning of the hospital was even begun in 1997, the facilities in the area had been serving the local communities for over a century. NBGH sprung from this tradition and resulted from the merger of two area hospitals, Civic Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital and the subsequent construction of a brand new, all encompassing medical campus. Today NBGH is a district acute care facility that serves many health care functions for its community.

Going beyond local care

Because of the North Bay community’s relatively small size, NBGH has needed to remain flexible and open to services beyond just traditional community care to better serve all of its patients and become a vital force in providing health care of in this part of the Province. One way this is being done is by NBGH’s variety of programs and services. The hospital maintains high standards when it comes to innovation and physicians and staff are encouraged to always strive for improved care. Another way NBGH has remained relevant is by continually welcoming patients from other surrounding communities..

Glenn Scanlan, the Senior Vice President of Corporate and Support Services and also the Executive Director of the new North Bay Regional Health Centre project has been with the organization since 1995 and has been involved with the NBRHC project since its inception in 1997. He says NBGH offers traditional general hospital services, such as maternity, surgery, long-term care, orthopedics and dialysis, along with chemotherapy services as an extension of the Cancer Centre out of Sudbury, ON. Currently the hospital operates out of two sites, the former St. Joseph’s and Civic sites, which were consolidated in 1995. Services were reorganized and the Civic site now handles prime acute care, while the St. Joseph’s site covers maternity and long-term care. “There has been major shuffling done to accommodate the consolidation,” explains Scanlan. “We do have quite a bit of duplicate services just because of the distance from each site, such as with the radiology department, but we tried to maximize the efficiencies while recognizing the limitations of the facilities without going crazy spending too much money.”

New facility means the opportunity for innovation

But the collaborations don’t stop there. A unique project is underway that involves a new facility that combines both the current acute care facilities with the regional Northeast Mental Health Centre.  This mental health facility provides specialized mental health services to a large service area encompassing all of northeastern Ontario from the Quebec border to the southwest coast of Hudson Bay and south to Parry Sound.  “This is a very significant area and bringing the two corporations together onto one site is a large undertaking. The east side will be an acute setting, with 235-beds which will be acute beds primarily, so we are getting growth in continuing care and the biggest growth will be in the rehabilitation arena. The acute portion of mental health beds will be housed in our facilities so we gain another 40 beds there.” Scanlan adds that the mental health portion will house an additional 113 beds, 61 for specialized mental health and 52 forensic psychiatry beds.

“The concept is fairly new, the design from a hospital perspective is unique in that the acute side is primarily patient pods with access points for outpatient services and visits are all on one floor and we expect around 65,000 outpatient visits per year.” Scanlan says the mental health side is also very modern, abandoning the typical institutional structure for an innovative townhouse concept. “Many visitors ask what the townhouses are because they look residential. These facilities will house a maximum of seven patients per pod and have the ability for patients to slowly gain independence in these settings. This is a very different model of care from the old asylum facility.” Scanlan adds that because this is such a departure from the traditional model, the old facility has created test models so the patients will be more familiar with their new surroundings and staff can “hit the ground running.”

Planning ahead means securing health care for the community

Looking for best practice in every facet of the design of the new facility has been paramount. Little details add up to a truly unique facility. “Every room has a view of the outside and we’ve designed food services to be more predicated on the needs of the patient.” The Plenary  Group was the broker for the project and PCL was the contractor. Johnson Controls has been selected to provide maintenance, a significant role at this hospital. “Everything has been life cycled automatically and is scheduled to be routinely replaced. Of course, this will be predicated on the status of equipment, but it’s been built into the cost. Building assessments will be done every five years and this is all factored into the price.” Having put the cost of upkeep into the overall budget means that this facility has the security of being properly maintained for the next 30 years. With the scope and innovation of the project, this is one facility that residents can rest assured knowing  it isn’t going anywhere for a long time.

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