PRH: Making a difference

Dr. David Kincade, head of the cardiology department at Penticton Regional Hospital, says the 2019 move into larger facilities in the new PRH patient care tower will provide an added boost for an already positive cardio department.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is part of the “PRH: Making A Difference” series of articles appearing daily in the Penticton Herald until Nov. 3, highlighting Penticton Regional Hospital as it moves towards the opening of its new patient care tower in the spring of 2019.

These are positive times for the cardiology department at Penticton Regional Hospital – except for one key missing ingredient. Adequate space.

So says Dr. David Kincade, head of the PRH cardio department which currently operates in a small corner on the hospital’s main floor.

Dr. Kincade said the cardiology team does great things while waiting for the move into much roomier facilities in the new PRH patient care tower in April 2019.

“It’s actually a really positive time. Our equipment is up to date, our staffing level is great, we all work well as a group and everyone has all these new ideas,” he said. “But at some point, the actual physical size limits us from doing more.”

Thankfully, more space is on the way. The cardiology department in the new tower will be three times larger than the current space and will allow the department to expand its service.

It will include three new electrocardiogram rooms, three treadmill bays, two cardiac device clinic bays, an additional echo room, and additional physician consultation rooms that will help improve patient privacy.

Each month, the Penticton cardio department receives more than 1,700 patient visits. These include patients seeking echo-cardiogram tests, electro-cardiograms, as well as other scans, monitoring and stress tests.

Kincade said thanks to the recent acquisition of two new echocardiogram machines (replacing one of the two existing machines), they are able to reduce the waiting list for patients requiring such a test.

“We also just hired a new technician, so we’re actually doing about one-third more cases,” he said. “We’re doing an extra 32 cases a week, so it’s about 80 or 90 a week now instead of about 60.”

There are now six echo-cardiographers on staff at PRH, including the addition of a new full-time tech and a part-time staff member.

“Our job is to assess everyone and sort out who needs what, in a more timely manner,” he said. “The limiting factor is a lack of space. You can’t work through some of the initiatives you want to introduce, if you don’t have the physical space to do it.”

Kincade said everyone in the cardio department is “super-excited” about the pending move into the new tower. He smiles when considering future possibilities.

“It’s terrific, there’s a lot of things that we’re really looking forward to – not the least of which is just a new, esthetically nice space.”

At six storeys high, the new David E. Kampe Tower will increase capacity and functionality of ambulatory care services, include five new operating rooms, 84 new single patient rooms, a rooftop helipad and space to allow the UBC Faculty of Medicine program to expand.

Phase 2 of the PRH expansion will see a significant upgrade to the emergency department as well as the pharmacy, supplies and equipment stores in the existing hospital building.

PRH is currently undergoing a $312-million expansion and the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation is raising $20 million to provide the medical equipment required. To donate, contact the SOS Medical Foundation at 250-492-9027 or visit their website sosmedicalfoundation.com.