North Vancouver, B.C. – North Shore residents will receive enhanced levels of care as Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) opens the doors to the new High Acuity Unit (HAU) at Lions Gate Hospital (LGH). The HAU is located next to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), bringing all of the hospital’s inpatient critical care services together on one floor where patients can be cared for by specialized teams of staff and medical staff.
The new HAU has 12 individual patient rooms providing a new level of care between the one-on-one care of the ICU and a general acute ward. The unit includes vital-signs monitoring equipment and other technology to support high acuity care, built-in patient lifts for patient comfort and staff safety and care cubbies that accommodate mobile workstations that allow nurses to monitor patients at the same time.
“The new high acuity unit at Lions Gate Hospital will help critically ill patients get improved access to the care they need,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “I thank the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation and all those who donated to this project to make it happen.”
“What we are doing is following the principle of patient-centred care – we are putting the patients in the High Acuity Unit and wrapping the care they need around them,” said Corrie Irwin, Director of the ICU and Emergency Department at Lions Gate Hospital. “We are going to be seeing increasingly complex patients – they may not require the high level of care provided in the Intensive Care Unit, but they need supports beyond what’s available through inpatient programs. The High Acuity Unit fills that gap. It completes the continuum of care.”
The HAU will serve patients who need more complex care than available on the medical and surgical units, but do not need the level of life support care provided in the ICU. Patients treated in the new unit will be cared for in a comfortable family-friendly space as well as supported by a multi-disciplinary team and the most up-to-date innovations in patient care and technology.
Made possible by donations through the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation (LGHF), the $10.3 million fundraising campaign attracted substantial contributions from members of the community, including a $1.5 million donation from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation. In honour of the gift, the unit has been named the Seaspan High Acuity Unit. The unit also benefits from the addition of anti-microbial copper fittings, fixtures and ultraviolet C sanitation, thanks to a $320,000 donation from the Dawn and Axel Rehkatsch Foundation.
“The opening of the HAU is a testament to the generosity and kindness of our donors,” said Judy Savage, President and CEO of LGH Foundation. “Our local community continued to support our fundraising efforts for the project throughout the pandemic and thanks to their perseverance, we can celebrate the opening of the unit. Our donors have ensured that our community now has access to the high acuity services we need right now. They should be proud of the impact they have had on local health care.”
The new HAU will enable additional training opportunities and staff recruitment at LGH. VCH will be responsible for ongoing operations at the high acuity unit at LGH. VCH will be able to offer nurses new career opportunities and extra critical care training to encourage them to work at LGH in the long term as well as attract others to join the team.
The HAU’s physical space has also been designed to welcome and accommodate families who are supporting their loved one and participating in their care, including large patient rooms to accommodate family visits, private patient-physician meetings and rehabilitation activities. The unit will serve approximately 1,400 patients each year.
“This new critical care space will directly support the community. We are so grateful to the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation and all of the donors who contributed to their fundraising campaign,” added Irwin.
Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the delivery of $4.1 billion in community, hospital and long-term care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. VCH also provides specialized care and services for people throughout B.C., and is the province's hub of health-care education and research.
Established in 1987, Lions Gate Hospital Foundation is the fundraising arm of the hospital. In the past eight years, the Foundation has raised more than $224 million to support the purchase of new medical equipment, facility upgrades, staff education and research. Successful projects include raising $105 million to build a new high-tech Medical & Surgical Centre; the $2.3 million North Shore Hospice expansion project to build BC’s first palliative care hub and the opening of The HOpe Centre, the $26.5 million facility that has transformed the provision of youth and adult mental health services on the North Shore.