It’s Saskatchewan, encapsulated, for all for the children and families of this province.
From the moment you walk in the doors of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon, it’s clear this building is something special, even without the equipment and furnishings in place that will complete it. From the lights in the lobby that mimic the Northern Lights, to the graphics on the walls throughout the building that reflect the images of our province, from the wolves in its north to its wheat fields in the south, it is obvious that time, effort and thought has gone into every element of its design and construction.
That construction reached a significant milestone this week. Graham Construction handed over the keys to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) on May 2, delivering the project exactly on time.
More than 1.6 million hours of construction work went into building the hospital. With only months remaining until the facility opens its doors this fall, the SHA is now starting the complex process of preparing the building and staff for opening day later this year.
Part of that preparation will be moving in over 77,000 pieces of equipment and furniture. Another part of it will be the training and orientation of 2,400 staff, plus physicians, which will begin in the months ahead.
“This is a beautiful facility on the banks of the Saskatchewan River, overlooking the City of Saskatoon, and it’s certainly a symbol of our province and how important the children of our province are to us,” Corey Miller, Vice-President of Provincial Programs for the SHA, stated to media after they toured parts of the facility on May 2.
“The new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital will act as a centre of excellence for the care of our moms and children and provide dedicated physicians, staff and processes specific to the unique needs of children,” said Miller. “The hospital’s design is focused on the needs of families, providing a child-friendly atmosphere and comfortable, private spaces for families to spend time together outside of patient rooms.”
The building was designed with patients and families at the table. Consultation was done around the province to get input on everything from colours and shapes to animals, things that children and families felt meant something to them, and all have been incorporated into different aspects of the building. There are wolves, frogs and other animals lining the walls of the pediatric outpatient clinic to assist with wayfinding. There’s a mural of a grain elevator surrounding by fields in the school room on the pediatric floor, and an outdoor play space that’s protected from the elements, but will allow children to play outside.
A patient- and family-centred approach can be seen in the layout of the building, with a focus on privacy and places for families to gather around their loved one. In the maternal unit, mothers will receive single room maternal care, meaning they won’t need to move from unit to unit as they labour, deliver, and receive post-partum care. They will stay in a single room. In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, each baby will have its own room, and parents will be able to stay comfortably with their child in the unit. On pediatrics, each patient room is large, again allowing space for parents to stay with their child.
Throughout the building, there are a variety of family spaces – waiting areas, quiet rooms, consultation rooms, washrooms.
“This building has definitely afforded us some opportunities to delve into new models of care that we didn’t have an opportunity to get into in other buildings,” said Miller.
“Saskatchewan’s new maternal and children’s hospital will be a crown jewel in our healthcare system and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the progress,” said Brynn Boback-Lane, President and CEO, Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Excitement continues to grow as we get closer to opening and achieving our fundraising goal of more than $75 million to ensure that this special hospital has the right equipment and technology in place when our children and mothers need it.”
Recruitment is also on track for pediatric specialists to staff the state-of-the-art facility.
About 60 pediatric specialists, sub-specialists and surgeons have already been recruited and are currently working in Saskatoon. The SHA continues to recruit for about a dozen more full-time positions. Once opened, the 176-bed hospital will be fully staffed with over 72 full-time physicians in more than 20 specialties.
“We are pleased with recruitment,” said Dr. Laurentiu Givelichian, SHA’s Head of Pediatrics. “The new hospital will deliver a more patient-centric approach where services are organized around the patient, rather than children and their families having to navigate and search out these services. Physicians are extremely excited to be part of what we’ve built and the type of care we’ll deliver.”
The number of licensed pediatricians has nearly doubled in Saskatchewan since 2007, from 62 to 122.
The 2019-20 Provincial Budget provides $9.6 million to finalize information technology needs at JPCH and an increase of $23 million to support operations when the hospital opens this fall.
The total capital budget for the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital was $285.9 million, which includes $257.6 million from the Province of Saskatchewan and $28.3 million from the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital also committed an additional $46.7 million for furnishings and equipment, for a total contribution of $75 million.