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Nanaimo pharmacy project to enhance safety

Terry LakeNANAIMO, BC. – Island Health is improving medication safety for patients with an Island-wide project to establish a closed-loop medication system at its care locations. The Unit Dose Medication Distribution (UDMD) Project will make a full range of medications available in a ready-to-administer, bar-code-labelled format.

As part of this project, Island Health released the tender for a $2.5-million dollar pharmacy renovation and expansion at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH).

The $2.5 million allocated for the pharmacy construction is part of the $4.64-million UDMD project to construct and equip NRGH for the new medication delivery system. Funding is split 60-40 between the Province of British Columbia and the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District.

“This investment in the NRGH pharmacy reflects our commitment to ensuring that patients receive high-quality care when they are hospitalized,” said Health Minister Terry Lake (pictured). “The renovations and expansion are designed with the patient in mind, and will include a new system to help improve medication safety.”

Kinetic Construction Ltd. is managing the project, which includes:

• Expansion of the pharmacy to house new medication packaging and verification equipment and produce unit-dose medications;
• Renovations to address standards for sterile products; and
• Modifications to existing medication storage areas to assist with the change to unit-dose medication packaging.

The pharmacy will remain open throughout the construction period.

“Pharmacy improvements at NRGH will allow Island Health to continue to improve the high level of care patients receive at this facility, while creating efficiencies,” said Don Hubbard, Chair of the Island Health Board of Directors. “This is an example of how, as an organization, we work to provide the same kind of quality health care we would want for ourselves and our loved ones.”

“The renovation and expansion of the NRGH pharmacy will benefit both patients and staff,” said Joe Stanhope, Chair of the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District Board of Directors. “We are proud to be cost-sharing in this important project and look forward to seeing the renewed space.”

The UDMD Project will significantly reduce the likelihood of medication errors throughout the hospital and Island Health. Medication errors are one of the most common harmful errors that can occur in healthcare. Errors can occur in the processes of drug ordering, transcribing, dispensing, and administration when one or more of the medication safety ‘rights’ (right drug, right dose, right route, right patient, right time) is incorrect.

Construction for the NRGH pharmacy expansion and renovation is expected to begin in January 2016. It is anticipated that the UDMD project will be completed in Early 2017.

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