The Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is about to get an updated Intensive Care Unit, to help the facility better tend to the needs of its aging population.

An external review in 2013 found that the NRGH’s ICU was one of the worst in Canada and posed a risk to patients.

“Our government is proud to move forward with replacing this out-of-date ICU,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

“Patients will be able to receive the high levels of care they require in a more modern facility, which will be three times the current unit’s size, and health-care workers will also be able to take advantage of updated medical technology to help save lives.”

Island Health issued a formal request in 2017 to update the current 10-bed ICU that was built in 1970 and is outdated in its space and functionality.

The upgrades that will help the hospital provide better care for its patients comes at an estimated cost of $33.85 million. Work on the building will start in 2020 and is expected to be completed in 2021.

This long awaited construction will allow the NRGH to keep up with demands. The number of people who use the ICU facility is expected to grow by 33% over the next 15 years, amounting to 3,250 visits per year.

“A new, larger ICU will be a much-needed addition to the services provided at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and will benefit both patients and staff as our city grows,” says Ian Thorpe, Chair of the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District.

“This is something the community has advocated for, and the regional hospital district is proud to be a partner.”