September 2023

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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 3 | 67 Misericordia Hospital ED P H OTO G R A P H Y + R EN D ER I N GS CO U RT E S Y T H E GOV ER N M EN T O F A L B ERTA MISERICORDIA HOSPITAL ED by STACEY MCLACHLAN A lot has changed in the 50 years since Misericordia Community Hospital's emergency depart- ment was first built. Beyond major advancements in technology, the growing and aging population has been straining the physical space for decades. But sometimes, change can be for the better. Take, for instance, the new LEED V4 Silver targeted, state-of-the-art emer- gency facility – operated by Covenant Health and designed by RPK Architects Ltd. – that's slated to open later this year. It's not just that this 5,000-square- metre expansion will be able to accommodate 60,000 patients annu- ally (although that's a serious step up from the previous facility, which was originally designed for 25,000, although due to population growth was accommodating closer to 50,000 patients annually). It's that it aims to address service pressures in the Edmonton area and is a significant step toward meeting the needs of communities in West Edmonton and Northern Alberta, not just today but for generations to come. "From the outset of the project our team strove to create not just a well-functioning clinical space, but an environment for client-centred care," explains Jan Kroman, princi- pal architect for RPK. Working with the stakeholders, the team developed a mandate contained in four words: efficient, welcoming, warm, and safe. "These are the concepts that guided everything from space planning to the selection of finishes," says Kroman. The brick, white-metal, and white concrete have been designed to be compatible with the existing cam- pus, and the Emergency Department is comfortably connected to the exist- ing hospital. But the interior's distinct "pod" layout is certainly a dynamic shift from the status quo. The five pod areas are each intended to serve distinct patient groups. When patients arrive, they'll enter their designated pod waiting area, each of which is ori- ented towards a soothing outdoor courtyard. The full-height window glazing allows patients to experi- ence a moment of connection and calm with the outside world during a moment of crisis. Rich planting mate- rials and naturally patinated copper also offer a grounding visual moment. The vertical striations, as well as a lantern motif (drawn from Covenant Health's symbology), guide design choices, with each pod entry high- lighted via a backlit lantern wall, as well as having the main nursing desk in each department featuring areas of backlit solid surface material. These dedicated waiting rooms not only contribute to the pleasant aesthetic of the space but also shape the patient experience. The rooms also help offer patients a break from the chaos of the general ED wait- ing area, exemplifying the ideas of flow and privacy that drove this proj- ect from the beginning. Eighteen acute care spaces will provide even more care and a kid-friendly inter- active play area is designed to improve the family experience. The design also includes five isola- tion rooms (from one in the previous facility), and examination rooms with glass doors instead of curtains for added peace and quiet. Those private isolation rooms feature segregated airflow systems to prevent the spread of germs, infections, and disease. "The modernized ED at the Misericordia Community Hospital is designed to be more future proof," says Mike Linn, senior director of capital manage- ment for Alberta Health Services. "It's designed to take on future health-care challenges, such as pandemics." LOCATION 16940 87 Avenue NW, Edmonton, Alberta OWNER Alberta Health Services OPER ATOR Covenant Health ARCHITECT RPK Architects Ltd GENER AL CONTR ACTOR PCL Construction Mgmt STRUCTUR AL CONSULTANT Fast + Epp MECHANICAL /ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT MCW Hemisphere Ltd. CIVIL CONSULTANT Arrow Engineering Inc. TOTAL SIZE 5,000 square metres TOTAL COST $85 million Unsurprisingly, a project of this sensitivity requires extensive care and consideration. "Constructing on an existing and active hospital cam- pus is always a challenge," says Darren Helboe, senior project manager for general contractor PCL. However, team- work made the logistical challenges manageable. "The installation, electri- cal tie-ins, and commissioning of the emergency generators and associated switchgear was in itself an engineer- ing and construction achievement, with significant time and effort being put in by the project team, all work- ing together to complete this scope with minimal disruption to the hospital." Jo Ann Molloy, senior director of operations of Misericordia, concludes by saying, "The shiny new emergency department is slated to open this fall and what staff is looking forward to most isn't the surface level improve- ments. Everyone's excited about how bright, modern and beautiful the space is … but they're also excited about how it will help them deliver modern care." A

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