Bridgepoint bridges to future with new hospital

Bridgepoint staff help patient Jean Heap move to the new hospital (photo by Jennifer Specht/Bridgepoint Active Healthcare)
Bridgepoint staff help patient Cheryl Lewis move to the new hospital (photo by Jennifer Specht/Bridgepoint Active Healthcare)

The new Bridgepoint hospital near East York’s southwest corner is finally a vision come to reality after approximately 600 staff and volunteers worked to move patients on April 14 from the old, familiar semi-circular building to the new, modern tower that looms over the Don Valley Parkway.

“We’ve been planning this move for a year, so it’s very high energy, there’s lots of activity, but it’s planned with military precision,” said Marian Walsh, president and CEO of Bridgepoint Active Healthcare.

“Everybody has a role, they know what the role is and it’s a bit like a relay race. We’ve got everybody at designated places around the building. There’s somebody in the old hospital, who’s in charge of sending all 352 patients,” Walsh said.

“At the unit level, there are managers and senders there who are ready to check the patients out, make sure that they’re well and that they’ve all been assessed and they’re stable and ready to go,” she said. “Then the patient is transported to the new hospital. There, they’re checked in, they go to their units, they’re checked in again and then there’s a move-in team that helps them settle into their room and into their beds.”

Each patient had his/her own lift team, transport team and care team. The move, which started at 8 a.m., was completed by 4 p.m.

“We’re going to move three patients every three minutes, so that’s a lot of people moving. It’s a big operation, but it’s very well planned,” Walsh said.

Most of the patients’ beds were also transported from the old hospital to the new one. Upon arrival, they were cleaned and moved into the patients’ new rooms.

Donna Dooher, 58, was the first patient checked into the new hospital and wore a bright red #1 badge to show it.

“I was overwhelmed. I knew for a few days prior to this that I was going to be the first patient in, but I don’t think it really hit me until we were coming into the new building and seeing all of the work that’s gone into putting this facility together and all the people who’ve worked so hard to make it happen,” Dooher said. “It’s amazing. I’m feeling very special today.”

Dooher, who broke both her legs in a skiing accident five weeks ago, said her goal is to be walking again by July 1. She feels fortunate to be alive.

“It was an accident and we have all kinds of reasons for being here. We’re pretty lucky that we have a place like this to go to,” Dooher said. “I had orthopedic surgery on both legs. So, since I’ve come to Bridgepoint, I’ve had extensive physiotherapy… and it’s been remarkable how quickly I’ve been coming along.”

“(I) need to take a few more ski lessons I guess,” Dooher laughed.

The new hospital building, larger than the old one, also gives patients the opportunity to eat meals together in a dining room instead of alone and from trays in their individual beds.

“We have a whole new hospital that’s hugely more capable of providing for the complex healthcare needs of these patients and enabling us to provide much more intensive rehabilitation in a building that’s been designed for that,” Walsh said.