Chetwynd General Hospital recently upgraded its laboratory with an expansion of the air conditioning unit and improvements to the chiller. Chillers are machines that create cooled liquid, then circulate it through a heat exchanger to cool air or equipment.
The need for a new air conditioning unit
The original air conditioning unit was over 30 years old and not functioning efficiently. It was able to maintain temperature with older equipment, but the lab is continuing to receive new analyzers and equipment. Without an air conditioner that could handle this newer and more powerful equipment, the lab would get uncomfortably hot – sometimes more than 30 degrees in the summer.
The new air conditioning system allows the laboratory to modernize and expand its capabilities without compromising the safety of either staff or lab samples. The new ducting triples the amount of air moving into the department, and the new chiller unit outside the laboratory boosts air conditioning capacity.
Benefits for all
This improvement benefits patients, doctors, and nurses by providing lab results more promptly, which can lead to patients being referred or discharged more quickly. Getting lab results in a timelier manner also enables quicker decision-making, contributing to improved patient outcomes.
The project, costing approximately $75,000, covered the purchase of the new chiller and condensing unit, setting up a temporary lab, shutting down immovable equipment, and implementing infection prevention and control measures such as hoarding and asbestos control in three rooms. (“Hoarding” refers to a temporary structure or barrier that contains and isolates the work area – it’s part of the process to keep staff, patients, residents, and workers safe during construction and other procedures such as asbestos abatement/removal.) Electrical and ventilation systems were also upgraded, including new ducting.
With the Chetwynd laboratory resuming testing, pressure is being taken off other Northeast labs, which will reduce the amount of patient transfers. As technologies evolve, other labs in the North will probably need similar upgrades, with costs varying according to the details and setup of each lab.
Thanks to those involved in this project!
Chetwynd General Hospital would like to recognize Facilities Maintenance, specifically Stephen McInnis, Maintenance Supervisor, for developing and quickly executing an excellent project plan. The Facilities Maintenance team also worked closely with Infection Prevention and Control to ensure that all necessary procedures and protocols were followed.
Dr. Bron Finkelstein, a family medicine physician at the Chetwynd Primary Care Clinic, played a crucial role in advocating for the project, emphasizing its impact on patient care. Siemens Canada was also helpful in determining the requirements for improved lab testing.