MUHC Opens Newly Renovated Intensive Care Unit At The MGH

Published: 19 February 2002


The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) proudly opened its newly renovated 24-bed Intensive Care Unit during a ribbon cutting ceremony today at the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) site.

After years of struggling with conditions, which have created a chaotic and cramped environment for patients, families, and staff, the MGH surgical and medical ICUs have merged. These units were relocated from the 8th and 14th floors to the 9th floor of the hospital.

Patients will be moved to the new unit on March 2, once final touches have been completed and the rooms stocked with supplies.

The ICU renovations began in November 2000 and cost $7-million - money the Montreal General Hospital Foundation raised thanks to generous donations from the community. The Regie Regional contributed an additional $1-million to purchase new hemodynamic monitors.

"It's a relief to have the new unit up and running. We are finally able to offer 21st century care to our patients," said Dr. Ash Gursahaney, Director of Critical Care at the MGH Site. "The old units were archaic and hadn't been renovated in over 25-years. The new unit takes the patient's and family's needs into consideration. The ICU also features a much improved infection control system as well as a better-designed work area for the staff. "

Renovations of the ICU were essential. Hospital accreditations from 1991, 1994 and 1997 recommended strongly that the ICU spaces be expanded because the units were well below acceptable standards.

"For a long time we have been working in inadequate spaces, where doctors and nurses were so limited that it interfered with the running of the unit and caused additional stress to the staff, " says Colleen Stone, Nurse Manager of the ICU. "Due to high-tech equipment the staff was literally climbing over extension wires and cords to get to patients."

The MGH site of the MUHC is the first hospital in Quebec to install state-of-the-art power columns. These movable columns hang from the ceilings of each room and control all the functionality of the ICU including hemodynamic monitors, oxygen and intravenous pumps. Thanks to these columns health care professionals have access around the entire bed which is particularly important in the case of an emergency.

  • 26 functional private rooms each with separate ventilation and a sink that will improve infection control
  • Each room has individual climate control and natural lighting thanks to large windows
  • Open concept with lots of glass with sliding doors so that patients and nurses can see each other
  • New high-tech hemodynamic monitors at every bedside
  • Call bell system for every patient
  • Located one floor up from the OR with a dedicated elevator from OR to ICU
  • Nursing sub-stations along the corridor which allow nurses to better monitor patients and save walking back and forth
  • Satellite pharmacy in the ICU
  • Dedicated conference room to facilitate teaching
  • Separate room where a loved one can spend the night if a patient is very unstable>
  • Room for family meetings
  • Large waiting room for families
  • Until the move to the Glen yards, the MUHC will have to continue renovating its existing buildings in order to maintain the highest quality of patient care, but each renovation is replete with drawbacks, compromises and frustrations.

For example, while, the newly merged ICU is going to make-up for some of the serious shortcomings of the old units, its design is still second best. The typical layout of a modern ICU concentrates services within a central core surrounded by an outer ring of patient rooms. This set up is impossible until the MUHC moves to the new site.

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