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Lois Hole women’s hospital opens in Edmonton

EDMONTON – Alberta’s newest hospital officially opened this month, a milestone moment for women’s health in the province. The Lois Hole Hospital for Women, located within the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, will provide a wide range of health services for women of all ages.

The five-floor hospital will welcome its first patients in mid-May, with 98 beds and 22 flex beds, plus capacity for future growth. The flex beds provide for expanded capacity to meet unpredictable obstetrical needs.

“Alberta has an important new facility that will play a key role in advancing women’s health through clinical care, prevention, innovation, research and education,” says Ken Hughes, Chair, Alberta Health Services Board. Until now, many of the women’s health services were provided in a 60-year-old building on the Royal Alexandra site.

“The Royal Alex has provided services in high-risk obstetrics, specialized gynecology and women’s surgery for a long time now, but we’ve outgrown our current space,” says Joanna Pawlyshyn, vice-president of the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

“Now we’ll be able to consolidate the majority of women’s health programs and services in one space to enhance accessibility to care and, ultimately, quality.”

The ground floor of the new hospital houses the women’s ambulatory clinics, currently visited by about 24,000 patients each year.

The hospital’s 26-bed inpatient units include spacious rooms and interactive bedside terminals, which provide patients with convenient access to telephone, entertainment and educational information.

The units also have decentralized nursing areas, and the ability for monitored observation beds, so staff and physicians can be closer to patients. The hospital’s 16 labour, delivery and recovery rooms will be the birthplace of about 5,400 babies and 215 multiple births a year.

Two rooms have infant resuscitation areas for a new model of care: newborns can be stabilized and cared for by Stollery Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staff for up to four hours before being cared for in the Lois Hole Hospital.

A dedicated women’s surgical suite is equipped with state-of-the-art digital operating room technology and instrumentation.

“The hospital will strengthen women’s health through advancements in infrastructure and technology, such as Telehealth (videoconferencing), so we can better support women and health professionals in rural areas to receive care closer to home,” says Dr. Stephen Duckett, president and chief executive officer of Alberta Health Services.

The Lois Hole Hospital for Women was designed with a healing aesthetic and calming environment, which includes the tranquil Ted and Lois Hole Healing Garden as well as artistic features and windows throughout.

“Our goal was to create a hospital where, when women walk through the doors, they know they are entering a special place – a place designed with their unique needs in mind,” says Andrew Otway, president and chief executive officer of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. “I think we’ve achieved this.”

The hospital is made possible through $190 million in funds from the Government of Alberta and more than $20 million in donations to the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation towards campaigns for the Lois Hole Hospital for Women and its larger home, the Robbins Pavilion.

The hospital is named after the late Honourable Lois E. Hole, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, from 2000 until her death in 2005.

Posted April 22, 2010