Opening nears for Grove Memorial Community Hospital as it meets substantial completion

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Residents of the Elora and Fergus region can look forward to the opening of the new $127.5-million Groves Memorial Community Hospital, as occupancy looms over the coming months following substantial completion of the project.

Construction of the 152,000-square-foot hospital began in 2015 in Aboyne, between Elora and Fergus, to replace the existing Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Fergus.

“With the achievement of this major milestone, the hospital will have full access to, and control of the building. During the next few months, the contractor will complete remaining minor construction deficiencies, and staff will begin preparing for occupancy. The official opening has not yet been set but is expected in late spring or early summer,” says Stephen Street, President and CEO, GMCH.

The new hospital builds on an existing model of care that links traditional hospital-based acute care services with community-based services to achieve an enhanced continuum of care. Features include:

  • Providing a framework to address future flexibility and changes in technology
  • Providing facilities that meet infection prevention and control standards and reflect best practices and evidence-based design
  • Providing services within a model of care to accommodate projected needs-based demographic change
  • A replacement hospital built on a greenfield site, with more space for emergency, ambulatory, diagnostic and inpatient services to accommodate a growing community
  • 37 of the 45 beds will be in private single patient rooms with a dedicated washroom and shower and large windows
  • The remaining eight beds will be in two-bed rooms each with a private washroom
  • All inpatient rooms will have views of the surrounding rural landscape, including the Grand River and extensive trail network
  • Modernized infection control measures, including additional isolation facilities, to enhance the hospital’s ability to respond to a pandemic or disease outbreak
  • An onsite helipad to allow for faster access to patient transfers by air ambulance
  • Large windowed areas that allow natural light to penetrate deep into the building and ultimately connect the interior with the outside
  • Simplified way-finding, making it easy for visitors and patients to navigate to their desired destinations. Hospital services that are used most frequently by outpatients are positioned closest to the main entrance to ensure easy access.

“Over the next few months, hospital staff and physicians will begin orientation and training in the new facility by familiarizing themselves with the changes in space, workflow, processes, technology and equipment,” explains Jill Schitka, VP Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive, GMCH.

“Simulations of real-life patient care scenarios will be conducted as a test and practice to see how the teams will work in the new environment.  We will ensure everything works smoothly for opening to ensure safe delivery of patient care.”

The hospital is adjacent to the Elora Cataract Trailway, and sits on 30 acres of rural land located behind the Wellington County Museum and adjacent to the Wellington Terrace Long-term Care Home. It’s bigger in size, with the emergency, diagnostic imaging and ambulatory care departments doubling in space and parking increasing to accommodate 320 vehicles.

“A tremendous amount of staff effort has gone into achieving this stage of the project, and the Board of Governors wishes to thank everyone involved. We also wish to acknowledge and thank our community and the generous support to our fundraising efforts to date,” says Jackie Ranahan, Board Chair, GMCH.

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