Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is the busiest Emergency Department on Vancouver Island. The Emergency and Psychiatric Emergency Services project replaced an Emergency department that was treating more than 53,000 patients each year in a space that was intended for about 15,000 patients. This project tripled the size of the previous department to improve patient care. The design features dedicated stretcher bays, space dedicated for mental health and addiction services, a dedicated x-ray room, natural light in all patient and staff areas, and better infection control (thanks to isolation rooms and decontamination space).
Houle provided electrical distribution and lighting, communications systems, data, nurse call, wireless duress, fire alarm, security and access control, and systems integration for this LEED Gold designed hospital. Houle installed extensive daylight harvesting in all patient rooms and quadrants with offset dimming lighting. The hospital also features electric dimming glass doors to all patient rooms; at the flick of a switch, the doors provide more privacy and better infection control than traditional curtains. Multiple courtyard gardens with access to fresh air and natural light promote patient and staff health. All courtyards include landscape lighting for nighttime use.
The density of both the electrical and mechanical systems to be installed in care areas required extensive coordination, planning, and modelling to avoid conflicts. Houle needed to integrate all new systems to ensure they work together and with the systems in the existing hospital. This required working with several user groups and manufacturers to program systems to work together as intended. Because of constant altering of the design due to intense user group involvement, Houle performed several mock-ups and reviews with user groups to ensure the space and systems met the needs to the end-users.