New emergency department at Misericordia hospital will support the community
April 27, 2023
By Carla Howatt, Senior Advisor, Covenant Health
As a child growing up in Edmonton’s west end, Jeff Gracie, a general foreman with MCL Power, never imagined a time when he would work on a project as important to his community as the Misericordia Community Hospital’s new emergency department (ED).
“This was an important project for me as I was born at the Misericordia and attended Jasper Place High School,” says Jeff. “I’ve spent the majority of my life on the west end.”
Jeff feels a sense of pride in having worked on a project that adds to his community and is something he or his kids can use in the future. He tells his family, including his two daughters, about his contribution to the new ED. And when his third daughter is born, he will share his pride with her as well.
While the new Misericordia ED will serve people from all over the Edmonton area, it will be, at its heart, an ED for the community. When complete, it will provide an efficient, compassionate and patient-centred care environment for patients, families and staff, with enhanced privacy and safety. The department will be able to accommodate up to 60,000 visits per year and include expanded treatment areas, private rooms for people with mental health needs, a simulation training lab for staff and other amenities.
Construction of the new ED began in 2020 with a $85-million investment by the provincial government. From the architects to the work crews and those making plans for its opening, it has been a large and intricate project with many moving pieces.
“We have been meeting regularly over the last couple of years to ensure that the project runs on time and on budget,” says Heath Ramsden, ED operational project manager. “Now it’s time to work towards preparing the building to be a functioning ED.”
With construction of the building complete, there is still a large amount of work to be done, including installing, inspecting and cleaning equipment; setting up information technology systems; preparing work areas; and orienting and training staff. These tasks will take months and involve many departments all working towards a common goal. During that time, the current ED will remain open so that residents can receive patient care uninterrupted.
“We still have a lot of work to do between now and the day the ED opens,” says Jo Ann Molloy, senior operating officer for the Misericordia. “But I know that the team here at the Misericordia is excited and ready to take it on.”
This project builds on investments made in the Misericordia hospital over the past several years, including a newer neonatal intensive care unit, expanded mental health units and expanded medicine units. It has been a community project since the beginning with the Covenant Foundation raising funds to make sure the ED is as comfortable and family-centred as possible. The fundraising campaign is still ongoing as the foundation strives to reach its $2.6 million goal. Once the new ED is ready to open, it will breathe new life into the hospital and pave the way for even more redevelopment in the future.
“The new ED is another step towards a modern, vibrant Misericordia that will meet the needs of the community for generations to come,” says Jo Ann.
As for Jeff, he understands the importance of the new ED to people in the area. He feels it is an asset for the community, and he knows that many people, like his parents and friends, are excited to see it open.
“Being part of the community made working on the new emergency department very meaningful to me,” he says.