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Measles, chickenpox, tuberculosis and the influenza virus – they are all airborne infectious illnesses that are easily transmitted, most often unknowingly. When patients come to our Emergency Department they are often completely unaware they are suffering from an infectious disease or other respiratory condition, putting other patients, their families and the staff at risk.
Infection prevention is a significant challenge within the high-volume setting of any Emergency Department. When infected patients await diagnosis and treatment in close proximity of others, not only are they at risk of becoming more ill due to their compromised state of health, they are exposing others to a potentially contagious disease.
When posed with situations such as these our health care team’s first priority is to isolate those patients with suspected or confirmed airborne infectious illnesses in the safety of an Airborne Isolation Suite. With a growing number of visits from patients with infectious illnesses, Eagle Ridge Hospital’s Emergency Department needs more than the one retro-fitted “isolation capable” room it currently has.
Our health care team does the best they can, but simply put, our hospital must be better when it comes to dealing with infectious diseases. The two new dedicated Airborne Isolation Suites, which are part of the Emergency Department expansion, allow for this to occur. With fully specialized air handling and ventilation systems, anterooms for donning personal protective equipment, and dedicated ensuite washrooms, these suites will ensure that no airborne particles escape to other areas of the Emergency Department, protecting patients, visitors and staff. In addition, the Airborne Isolation Suites will be equipped with monitoring systems that will measure, monitor and provide alarms to protect the integrity of the rooms.
What does this all mean? This means that patients, ranging from infants to seniors, afflicted with highly contagious illnesses such as tuberculosis, chickenpox, measles, influenza virus, or respiratory conditions will be able to receive care in a private and safe environment where they are protected from further illness and where the risk of infecting others, like you, is mitigated.
The Airborne Isolation Suites are integral to isolating patients with both suspected and confirmed illnesses that are a health risk to others. The ability to keep even suspected cases separate from the rest of the Emergency Department will proactively avoid the potential spread of such illnesses and protect our community as a whole.
Last year, over 53,000 patients visited the Emergency Department, we need your support to build these rooms to protect you, your family and our hospital staff – our goal is to raise $225,000 to help build and equip these rooms, so we all benefit from a safer experience with every visit to our community hospital.
Dr. Peter Macdonald
Eagle Ridge Hospital