How to move a hospital: Massive Royal Vic transfer imminent
Sunday is a big day for the MUHC – it’s moving day.
Starting at 7:00 am, some 220 patients from the Royal Victoria Hospital will be transferred to the new Glen site.
It's the largest hospital move in Canadian history – and an undertaking like that means plenty of preparation.
A specialized company is overseeing the entire move with almost military precision, watching everything from boxes of supplies, to monitors, to IV dispensers.
“On Sunday morning, we're going to have the Royal Vic ER close at 5 a.m. and simultaneously the Glen ER will open. At that point the Glen becomes, in a minute, an active, functioning hospital,” said Pat Moriarty, president of Health Care Relocation, an Ontario-based company that specializes in hospital moves.
The company has spent two years planning this move, including, most importantly, the massive patient transfer.
“The care will always be provided by the MUHC staff, which it should, but we help with the logistics on how that's all going to happen from our experience,” Moriarty explained.
HCR has been in business for 21 years, moving hospitals all around the world.
This year alone, they'll move 20 hospitals.
The Royal Vic is their biggest job this year.
The patient transfer will be done with almost military precision, said Moriarty.
“It's based on U.S. aircraft carrier models, in the sense that when you're on a U.S. aircraft carrier - or any aircraft carrier - each of the different roles on that day have different coloured t-shirts,” said Moriarty, referring to the different shirts provided to various teams at the MUHC to help identify each player.
The level of planning has impressed management at the hospital.
“These guys know their business, and we've put all the protection, all the contingency plans in order to make sure that the patients are moved safely to the Glen site,” said MUHC spokesperson Richard Fahey.
On Tuesday, the media took part in a mock move to watch a simulation of the massive transition, one of at least three major trial runs.
The plan is to transfer one patient every three minutes.
A total of 29 ambulances will be dedicated to moving between 220 to 250 patients. Each ambulance will be outfitted with a nurse on board.
Each team member has their own specific role, wearing colour-coded t-shirts.
Ambulances will be taking Pine Ave. to Atwater Ave. to St-Antoine St.
While there are no road closures, the public is asked to stay away from the area from the Royal Vic to the new site.
The estimated time of the move is 30 minutes per patient from bed to bed. Once arrived, the patient's identity is twice verified.
Patients are then wheeled into their assigned rooms in the new hospital.
Teams at the Montreal Children's Hospital have also been preparing for their move, which takes place on May 24.
A move roster will help ease the flow of patients, explained Dr. Harley Eisman, the head of children’s emergency, who is coordinating that move.
“In terms of levelling the load, so to speak, we intertwined more complex patients with more simple patients. At the Children's site, we can prepare them in time and at the Glen we can receive them, make sure they’re clinically stable,” he said.
All the equipment the patient needs has to move, as well.
“Moving this equipment in the ambulances and hallways, how the equipment gets plugged in the ambulances,” said Eisman.
The Montreal Chest Institute will also soon move to the Glen site – they’re scheduled to transfer on June 14.