February 6, 2024
Paramedics and leaders gather in the newly unveiled ambulance bay in Claresholm. From left are Tony Pasich, Lisa Mikkelsen, Terri Briscoe, Karli Martin and Lorin Calder. Photo by Melanie Veriotes.
Story & photo by Melanie Veriotes
CLARESHOLM — Ambulances are now rolling into the new ambulance bay at Claresholm General Hospital, part of remodeled space designed to advance emergency care with improved accessibility and patient comfort.
The new ambulance bay, which opened Jan. 8, includes a decontamination area, a supply storage area, and two new accessible patient washrooms. Attached to the site, the one-ambulance bay offers a hallway that leads directly into the hospital.
"We’re committed to providing top-notch care to our community," says Karli Martin, Site Manager. “The new ambulance bay is a much-needed resource for both our dedicated healthcare teams and the patients we serve, further advancing emergency services at our hospital.”
Construction on the new $3.4M bay began in January 2023. The Government of Alberta’s Rural Health Facilities Revitalization Program provided funding.
Martin adds that hospital teams have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the new bay after years of planning — and that staff have already expressed their satisfaction and appreciate the enhanced workflow and improved facilities.
One of the key advantages of the new ambulance bay is its proximity to the hospital, which ensures patients can be swiftly transferred from the ambulance to medical care without exposure to inclement weather.
Tony Pasich, Associate Executive Director of EMS Calgary Zone, says: "This seamless transition can be crucial in critical situations, preventing additional stress on patients and facilitating a smoother handover to the hospital staff."
As well, the new bay is closer to the hospital's heliport. This improved accessibility means air ambulances can rapidly take off and land, reducing response times for critical cases.
The new bay also gives ambulance personnel a dedicated decontamination area. This specialized space allows emergency responders to efficiently clean and sanitize themselves and their equipment after exposure to contagious situations or hazardous materials, such as fertilizer spills.
Adding to efficiency, the ambulance bay features a fully stocked supply replenishment station, allowing ambulance personnel to swiftly restock essential supplies. This ensures their vehicles are always ready for the next call, to minimize downtime between emergencies.