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St. Mary’s of the Lake site being equipped as acute care location

St Mary’s of the Lake. Photo by Samantha Butler-Hassan.

The former St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital site on Union Street is being prepared as an alternate location for health care services in the event of surging patient volumes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) has identified St. Mary’s as the location of an alternate health facility (AHF) that could be quickly activated in the event of hospital capacity challenges due to COVID-19, according to a release from KHSC dated Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.

KHSC initially announced that the INVISTA Centre would serve as a temporary AHF to help handle surging patient volumes due to the pandemic, according to the release. More recently, KHSC has worked with Providence Care and Queen’s University to ready patient care space at the Union Street location instead of INVISTA.

“We are busy preparing this facility so it will be available to us as the need arises,” says Dr. David Pichora, president and CEO of KHSC.  “We are always trying to stay ahead of the pandemic, and this step involves working with our partners to create capacity to provide acute health care in our region.”

The university purchased the site in 2017 and is now leasing the former Gibson Wing to Providence Care for a new transitional care centre that will open in 2021. KHSC say they will use a portion of the main floor for the 70-bed, 24,500 square-foot AHF.

“Queen’s University is pleased to be able to partner with KHSC and Providence Care to provide the space needed to develop new patient care space for the Kingston community and surrounding region,” says Patrick Deane, principal and vice-chancellor of Queen’s University. “It is also a good example of how public institutions can work together to deliver positive results for our community.”

The new facility will enhance KHSC’s capacity to respond to the pandemic and give it the flexibility to prioritize COVID-19 patients for care within its Kingston General Hospital site.

“The decision to co-locate the AHF at the new Providence Transitional Care Centre makes a lot of sense,” says Cathy Szabo, Providence Care president and CEO. “While the AHF will help ensure capacity for the pandemic response, we will fill a gap meeting the health care needs of our aging population through restorative programs. This is about health partners working together to ensure people have access to the care they need in our region, when they need it.”

KHSC and Providence Care’s shared planning team is now working to ready the Gibson Wing, and through Infrastructure Ontario KHSC has also engaged a project management team that specializes in standing up patient-ready units. Planning to operationalize the site, including the staffing component, is now underway and its expected that the AHF will be operational by mid-February.

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