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OVC Renovations Under Way
New isolation hospital, imaging facilities will improve patient care
BY BARRY GUNN
|Electrical contractors remove a 1950s-vintage surgery light as renovations begin on the new CT scanner suite at OVC. Photo by Barry Gunn|
Renewal of the OVC Teaching Hospital has taken a giant leap forward with the start of construction on two major projects: a stand-alone large-animal isolation hospital and new core imaging facilities in the radiology department.
“These major enhancements are essential if we are to continue to provide our clients with excellence in veterinary health care,” says Wayne Coveyduck, executive director of the hospital.
Renovations began in November to accommodate a four-slice Light-speed Plus CT scanner, a Precision 500D X-ray machine with fluoroscopy and new workstations that will complete the hospital's transition into a fully digital environment for diagnostic imaging. The new imaging facilities will be operational in the spring.
Work is to begin this month on the isolation hospital and will continue for several months. When completed late in the fall of 2008, the $5.6-million facility will boast state-of-the-art housing that will enable OVC's equine specialists to stream patients much more effectively, says Neil Blair, the teaching hospital's acting facilities manager.
“The isolation hospital allows us to completely separate potentially infectious patients from otherwise healthy horses that are being admitted for basic evaluations or diagnostic procedures,” he says. “Animals showing signs of infectious disease — such as salmonella, MRSA or undiagnosed diarrhea — will be directed to the isolation unit.”
Accommodating the CT scanner requires major renovations to an old large-animal surgical suite adjacent to the breezeway at the west end of the hospital complex near the MRI facility. The large-animal recovery/induction room next to the MRI suite will also be modified to serve the needs of equine CT patients. A new hydraulic equine patient table will be MRI- and CT-compatible and more user-friendly than the existing table, says Blair.
The CT scanner area will have two entrances — one for large animals and one for small — and will include a control room, conference room and lead-shielded viewing area.
“This will allow students to easily and safely observe procedures that they otherwise might not be able to see,” says project co-ordinator Prof. Stephanie Nykamp, a board-certified radiologist in the Department of Clinical Studies.
“Having both CT and MRI puts us at the forefront of veterinary imaging in North America,” she says. “It certainly opens up a lot of doors in terms of research, teaching and service to our clients.”
Upgrades have already been completed to bring the hospital's nuclear scintigraphy equipment into the digital age, and the entire project coincides with implementation of a complete Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS).
Work in the small-animal clinic is proceeding in phases to ensure that the radiology service continues to operate smoothly during construction and the installation of new equipment, says Nykamp.
“We've planned it so that everyone will feel the pinch of the renovation as little as possible.”
The first phase involves making existing space more functional and efficient by removing some walls to create new offices, a common work area and workstations. The new radiology area will be fully digital as the hospital makes the transition to “filmless” operations. (The hospital will retain its X-ray film capabilities, but surplus darkroom space will be modified for other uses).
Phase 2 requires upgrades to the main X-ray suite to allow installation of the new machine. Ongoing work in 2008 involves the final steps required for integrating PACS and a new hospital information system that will be coming on stream in the near future.
Construction of the large-animal isolation hospital is part of infrastructure improvements at OVC funded by the federal and provincial governments, U of G and private and corporate donations.
The 9,000-square-foot facility will include 12 stalls, a treatment room, diagnostic equipment, video monitoring, a nursing station and biohazard containment equipment. Each stall will have dual access — with interior and exterior doors — a major improvement in terms of efficiency and working conditions for staff and clinicians, says Don Trout, head of the large-animal clinic.
“From our clients' perspective, we are confident they'll see the benefits of enhancing our ability to completely separate infectious animals from the rest of our patients,” he says.