St. Lawrence Medical Clinic: Bright space, brilliant future

 

The St. Lawrence Medical Clinic’s efforts to well-position the clinic, for now and into the future, surpassed another milestone Monday, when the new Morrisburg location opened to patients.

Of the moving process, SLMC business manager Stephen McCann said, “It’s been hectic.” 

He explained that while working feverishly to get the new clinic location ready for opening, they too had to get everything out of the old location and hand the keys over to the contractors to allow them to proceed with phase two of the clinic renovation. 

Phase two will see part of the old clinic renovated to house SLMC’s administration and the remainder transformed into the new Morrisburg branch of the SDG Library.

It was very important to the clinic partners that this Morrisburg location not be closed for more than just one day, as it is the busiest location, and has long been the hub of all SLMC operations, explained Dr. Paul Coolican. He showed The Leader around the new space Sunday, during the moving process.

“We are really excited about the new place,” said Dr. Coolican. “The whole space is clean, and has a nice look to it,” he said, adding that once inside, the building has the feel of a brand new one.

The new location, which is larger than the old one, will eventually feature 12 exam rooms, which is four more than the old location.

Until phase two of the renovation is complete, four of those exam rooms will be temporarily used for administrative purposes. So, doctors and patients will not see the full impact of the renovation and expansion until the new year, explained McCann.

For now, everyone who visits the clinic will notice the bright, beautiful, clean space that has been designed and built, not only to withstand the clinic’s heavy foot traffic, but also to be appropriately cleaned to maintain that appearance for many years to come. “The flooring here is similar to what you see at the hospital,” said Dr. Coolican.

Visitors to the clinic enter the building using the main entrance, which is well-marked. They are greeted with an unattractive temporary plywood facade that will remain in place until all of the ongoing construction is completed in the new year. Once visitors proceed into the clinic entrance, they are then greeted by a beautiful, open and airy space that is the main waiting room. The new clinic has one large waiting room, with a separate, smaller, waiting room for the lab.

The clinic features separate rooms for EKG and similar procedures, and another room for baby weights. The large procedure room is easily accessible by ambulance for those patients who are acutely ill. 

Once complete, the Morrisburg clinic will feature three patient exam rooms through which each of the four doctors that can be on site at one time can circulate. So, patient flow will be improved. 

For each of these three exam rooms, there is one office for the doctor and associated nurse to share, with adequate working space and equipment for both. In the old building the doctor and nurse each shared a computer terminal, and phone. “So, quite often we were tripping over each other,” said Dr. Coolican. 

In the new space, the doctor and nurse each have their own desk, phone and computer terminal. This simple upgrade greatly improves the efficiency for the health care professionals. 

These offices have doors, that close, thus allowing for much more privacy. Patient privacy is much improved throughout the entire new space.

The third exam room, will not only allows the doctors to better circulate through patients, it will result in  less shuttling of patients from one place to another. 

Importantly, additional exam rooms will make room for the students and residents that SLMC doctors often have with them. “We are quite involved with teaching, so it’s important for us to have space for our students. We love having the students here, and they love to come here,” he said. 

Dr. Coolican mentioned that the expanded space allows greater opportunities to bring in other allied health professionals, which is something the clinic is working towards.

The exam rooms in the new space are larger than the old ones, but most importantly, they are better organized and set up not only for the doctor’s use, but also for the comfort of the patients, Coolican explained. The patient chairs are oversized for comfort, to allow patients to better relax during blood pressure checks. 

With the move the SLMC has invested in additional equipment. 

Now, each room is equipped with its own bpTRU machine, thus eliminating the past practice of shuttling this important equipment between patient exam rooms.

Even taken into account was the positioning of the patient chairs and the computer terminals, to ensure easier interaction between physician and patient.

“Dr. (Marilyn) Crabtree, took control of all that, and I’m sure all the other physicians would agree, she did a fantastic job,” said Dr. Coolican. 

He said that the organizational efforts of Dr. Crabtree and McCann, were invaluable throughout this entire project. 

“There were lots of little issues in making sure that everything was done right, and they looked after all that,” said Coolican, He too mentioned the importance of Wendy Casselman, who coordinated the move.

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