A large crowd gathered at the Royal Canadian Legion in Neepawa to hear about plans for the community’s new hospital, which will be completed by 2025. (Miranda Leybourne/The Brandon Sun)

NEEPAWA — Area residents got a glimpse at detailed architectural plans on Thursday evening for the community’s new hospital, which is set to be completed in 2025.

The Royal Canadian Legion hall in Neepawa was packed with curious residents who showed up to learn about the next phase of the new hospital, which will be located on recently rezoned land, east of the Lions Riverbend Campground, near Provincial Trunk Highway 16.

Matthew Bowering, an architect from the Winnipeg-based LM Architectural Group, the firm responsible for building the new facility, was on hand to explain everything from the layout of the new building, including planned green space and landscaping, to the inner workings of the hospital itself.

As the Sun previously reported, the three-storey health centre will feature 63 acute care inpatient beds and an expanded emergency department.

The second and third floor, where the rooms will be located, will house quarters for labour and delivery, including a water birthing suite, space for surgical patients, palliative care and family rooms. The second floor will also include an Indigenous spiritual space for ceremonies and a multi-faith space will be on the third floor.

The main floor of the hospital will feature a large, light-filled atrium, which Bowering said will help to orient patients and visitors to the hospital. There will be opportunity for a gift shop and cafeteria to be built, he said, and a staff lounge will feature a double-sided fireplace.

Diagnostics will be expanded at the new hospital, Bowering said, with two X-ray rooms, two ultrasound rooms, two electrocardiogram rooms that can also be used for stress testing, all of which will be located near the emergency department.

The emergency department itself, located on the main floor, will be attached to an ambulance bay and will feature enclosed rooms for privacy and an open-concept floor plan for intake and triaging patients.

Special rooms for mental health emergencies are also going to be built at the new facility. According to Debbie Poole, clinical planning regional lead with Prairie Mountain Health, a social worker would be available during daytime hours to assist patients in mental health crises, while overnight medical staff will use telecommunications to get people the help they need.

Outpatient treatment will be given on the main floor, with dedicated space for intravenous treatment and a wound-cleaning and dressing room. There will be six cancer care treatment stations and nine stations dedicated to renal dialysis.

On the grounds of the hospital, a healing garden is planned, and not far away a landing pad will be built for a helicopter.

Prairie Mountain CEO Brian Schoonbaert said the health authority has put in a lot of work since plans for the hospital were first discussed in 2021, with a particular focus on the role physicians and other health care workers have played.

“The physicians … and staff have really provided a great amount of insight into what this facility needs to provide and how it needs to work in terms of offering services to the community and neighbouring communities,” he said.

PMH has worked with the town and province on recruitment effort, and Schoonbaert said he’s feeling hopeful about attracting professionals to the town, especially after the province’s early December promise to hire 2,000 more health-care professionals and invest $200 million to retain, train and recruit workers across Manitoba.

“There are a lot of things being done provincially and by the region for recruitment,” he said, mentioning offshore recruitment strategies and the possibility of shortening nursing programs. “We are working very diligently on that.”

Mayor Brian Hedley, who attended the meeting, expressed his support for the health authority and his excitement over the new hospital.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the community. As we work on the growth within the community, becoming a bit more of a regional centre all the time, what better resource to have than a new place like this?” Hedley said.

PMH staff will continue to review plans for the facility and develop a human resources strategy for staffing the new hospital, Poole said.

Plans for equipment and operational readiness are also coming up soon. Poole said open houses and ongoing communication with Neepawa and area residents will continue to be an important part of moving forward with the new facility.

By Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 17, 2023 at 09:18

This item reprinted with permission from   Brandon Sun   Brandon, Manitoba

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