The new emergency department at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre is slated to open June 8. (Screenshot from Province of BC video)

The new emergency department at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre is slated to open June 8. (Screenshot from Province of BC video)

Expanded emergency department slated to open in June at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Project cost $15 million with an additional $1.25 million donated for equipment

The new emergency department at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre (ARHCC) is slated to open June 8, the provincial government announced Friday (May 7).

The $15 million expansion was announced in 2017 and features 7,200 square feet of additional floor space to help ease persistent congestion issues at the facility.

The project was funded by the provincial government through Fraser Health, with another $1.25 million for equipment provided by the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation.

The expansion includes three new trauma bays, 11 new patient exam rooms, a mental-health and substance-use zone, and renovations to the triage area, including a new patient exam room.

The project also includes renovations to vacated space to accommodate the relocation of the psychiatric clinical decision unit.

RELATED: ARH emergency department to get $15 million expansion

RELATED: Abbotsford hospital ER expansion pushed back to 2019

As well, the new space has a redesigned registration and triage area with a focus on increased privacy, including additional lounge areas and bathrooms, and a designated registration desk for emergency health services, such as ambulances.

Abbotsford-Mission MLA Pam Alexis said at an online press conference Friday that an expanded emergency department at ARHCC, which opened in 2008, has been much-needed.

“With the rapidly growing population in the region, the emergency department of the hospital had already been operating over-capacity for too long. This has resulted in an overcrowded emergency department that is continually congested,” she said.

She said the department recorded more than 71,000 patient visits in 2019-20 – a 6.4 per cent increase since 2014-15.

Alexis said the expanded area will help to alleviate the overcrowding and “make it safer and easier for staff to continue providing quality care and for patients to receive that care.”

Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith said the project will benefit not just Abbotsford, but residents of the entire eastern Fraser Valley.

ARHCC executive director Brendan Abbott said the changes will improve privacy and safety, including in the registration and triage area, where patients will be able to stay in one location during that process.

He said the new department creates a more “welcoming environment” with “plenty of natural light” and more space.

Beverley Thomson, a nurse educator, said she is grateful for the “state-of-the-art” facility.

“This space is awesome. It’s bright, it has lots of natural light, it’s spacious and beautiful,” she said.

Alexis said the project has reached “substantial completion,” with just a few final touches needed to be done to prepare for opening, such as equipment set-up.

RELATED: Hospital congestion a structural issue, ER doctors say

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