Since 2017 medical equipment used at the Aberdeen Hospital has been sent to the Colchester East Hants Health Centre in Truro to be sterilized because of infrastructure issues within the New Glasgow hospital.
Now, the Nova Scotia Health Authority believes they’ve come up with an interim solution for sterilizing equipment locally that will be put into place later this year.
“An agreement has been signed to lease a state-of-the-art portable Medical Device Reprocessing trailer from Steris Inc.,” Krista Wood confirmed on behalf of NSHA.
The unit is scheduled to arrive in October 2019 and is expected to be in use within a few weeks of its arrival. The portable trailer will be located on a concrete pad to be poured at the rear of the hospital, adjacent to the current maintenance shop, she said.
The site was selected based on its proximity to the operating rooms, to minimize the impact on other services, parking and site flow, as well as its ease of access to required services such as electricity, data, water and sewer.
“Over the coming months, the maintenance shop team will be relocated to an available space being remediated within the former Medical Device Reprocessing Department,” Wood said. “Once the trailer arrives, work will take place to run services, construct a walkway to support the movement of instruments between the trailer and the hospital, commission the trailer and prepare staff to work in this space.”
A small team of medical device reprocessing staff has remained on site in New Glasgow since 2017 to coordinate pre-cleaning, manage distribution and other logistics, with the vast majority of reprocessing activity taking place in Truro.
The use of a portable trailer had been considered prior to moving services in 2017, but was not pursued at the time, Wood said.
Underlying moisture issues got worse at the Aberdeen in March of this year.
“This required further mitigations and contingency planning to ensure continued support to the surgical program and other patient needs,” Wood said. “In March teams began revisiting the portable trailer option as a more suitable interim measure, and planning is ongoing to evaluate the potential construction of a new Medical Device Reprocessing Department space, to meet needs in the longer term.”
She said this department is essential to quality, safe surgical care and many other services.