Determination, creativity and teamwork lead to room improvements at Dartmouth General Hospital

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 4:25pm

Despite some major challenges, the maintenance team at the Dartmouth General Hospital made it a priority to spruce up patient rooms over the spring and summer, working overtime to create a more positive experience.

Larry MacFarlane, maintenance and plant operations supervisor at the Dartmouth General and Nova Scotia Hospital, oversaw the renovations.

“The hospital runs at 98 to 102 per cent capacity all the time, so it can be nearly impossible to get in there to do renovations,” MacFarlane explains. “When the building used to run at about 85 per cent occupancy, we could close an entire wing for months at a time to do necessary repairs and renovations. Now it’s hard to get a room for even a day.”

MacFarlane’s team, including general maintenance workers, Jeff Denty and Blair Harnish, worked quickly to complete repairs and give the rooms a fresh coat of paint.

He notes how well the team worked together to get the job done and the support they received from other departments.

“The guys really came up with creative ways of being efficient and they got better and faster as they went along. Nursing and housekeeping really partnered with us on this as well, which made a difficult project like this run smoothly.”

Despite limited time and resources, they’ve now completed about 80 per cent of patient rooms.

“It’s not a permanent fix, but it will help make patients’ rooms a little more comfortable and pleasant in the meantime, and that can go a long way when people are dealing with stressful situations," Macfarlane explains.

In late 2011, the provincial government, in partnership with the QEII Health Sciences Centre Foundation and the Dartmouth General Hospital Charitable Foundation, announced funding for a study to determine the most economical and efficient way to complete much-needed upgrades at Capital Health over the next five years.

The study includes two projects and will look specifically at renovations to and expansion of the Dartmouth General Hospital and within the QEII Health Sciences Centre, the expansion of the Halifax Infirmary, which includes the eventual demolition of the 44-year old Centennial Building.

Having been with Capital Health for 17 years and in his role as supervisor for five, MacFarlane truly understands how greatly hospital facilities can impact patient experience.

“You know, we live here and it’s our families that are coming here, so we really do want to make hospital spaces more pleasant for our community.”

Pictured in the photo left to right: Jeff Denty, general maintenance and Blair Harnish, general maintenance, two of the five team members who worked on the project.