Across the country – and in fact all over the world – conversations amongst health care leaders are tuned towards this concept of “shift” we talk about it so much in Fraser Health. When we talk about the shift, we are talking about moving away from a system that relies heavily on hospitals and towards a system that promotes health and wellness, prevention and management. Refining our use of hospitals and expanding community services are two ways to create a more sustainable system that better supports the health needs of our communities and citizens. Fraser Health is well positioned to make this shift a reality. Our vision Better health. Best in health care. has long stood for our organizational commitment to help people be well, stay well, get well, or manage better and when they are sick or injured, to deliver the very best care we can.
Our executive team members are committed to making decisions and organizing their portfolios to best support our efforts. I’d like to introduce them and let them tell you how they are supporting Fraser Health’s vision of Better health. Best in health care.
Ensuring that our extensive network of health care facilities are responsive to our changing needs to be present in the communities where people live is a priority. We say right care, right place at the right time – but how do we get the place where the care is offered?
At this time, I’d like to introduce Paul Becker, Fraser Health’s Interim Vice President of Corporate Services and Facilities:
There’s a myth that facilities management is about bricks and mortar - it’s actually not. Facilities management is about how our people create, build and sustain effective and resilient space solutions for our patients, families and care providers. Our job is to ensure that the facilities and infrastructure adapt in order to support how hospitals and community services are used.
I am proud of our facilities management team. They are planners, architects, real estate specialists and electricians; they are clinical and equipment planners and energy coordinators, and many others who help to translate Fraser Health’s clinical vision in order to provide the right physical places for care.
Buildings are expensive to build, operate, maintain and renew. We can’t be renovating facilities every five or ten years. It wouldn’t be prudent. So today, we build spaces to be modular and adaptive. That’s a shift for us as we constantly balance risks with quality and costs as we seek the best value proposition for expensive public assets. We ensure that the value proposition is appropriate for the type of facility and its expected lifespan.
Residential care and community health centres are two priority areas where we are using new design approaches in our communities. We recently opened two such new care facilities in Mission: The ‘Residence’ and the Mission Community Health Centre offer a complete campus of care that provides seniors with the best possible health care services close to home. This model is now being looked at as a prototype for other communities in the Fraser Valley.
Our work in Abbotsford involves a new concept design for a community health centre. The vision there is to integrate care professionals and community health supports in a patient-centred approach to care. The project goal is a facility that supports health care professionals as they shift their operating model toward working together in teams.
The clinical vision here is to wrap the health services around the patient rather than require the patient to navigate our health care system on their own. In order to achieve this higher level of health service integration, we need to change not only our approach to operations, but our approach to facilities. This facility will be designed to be flexible, incorporating universal patient treatment spaces and clinical support spaces to improve full utilization of the facility and to make it more adaptable to the ever-changing nature of health care service delivery.
Within existing hospital structures we are also applying a shift in design principles to keep acute care spaces adaptive and responsive. Emergency care has become more diverse with patients more frequently presenting with acute and chronic conditions, including higher prevalence of mental health needs. At any single point in time the Emergency Department needs to be able to accommodate a wide range of patient types and volumes. The recent Emergency Department projects at Langley Memorial Hospital and Eagle Ridge Hospital were undertaken to provide much needed additional capacity, but have also been planned with more universal patient spaces that are designed to accommodate the full range of possible patient presentations.
As we create, build and sustain health care facilities and infrastructure throughout their full life cycle, the themes of alignment with the evolving clinical mission and balancing the value proposition of risk, quality and costs are very clear. These themes are based on the fundamental facilities philosophy that it’s always about the people.