Cornwall Hospital Celebrates 20 Years of Integrated Care, One Shared Vision

Submitted by CCH
Cornwall Hospital Celebrates 20 Years of Integrated Care, One Shared Vision

Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) is celebrating a significant milestone this year as it marks its 20th anniversary. While the hospital’s historical roots extend beyond Confederation, it was two decades ago in January 2004 that a decision by the provincial government paved the way for the amalgamation of the city’s two acute care hospitals – Hotel Dieu and Cornwall General – into the Cornwall Community Hospital, McConnell Site or Second Street Site, operating under one board and administration.

Aligned with a provincial directive, CCH, alongside other Ontario hospitals, embraced a vision of merging to create larger healthcare organizations within their communities. The objective was to enhance the hospital’s capacity to meet the healthcare needs of the patient population by sharing resources and services guided by a unified vision and administration.

The ensuing two decades have been a remarkable evolution for CCH on its journey to meet the needs of our community, commencing with the consolidation of services at the McConnell Site. By 2006, the hospital successfully consolidated its Emergency services at McConnell, followed by the completion of the “Early Works Project” in 2008, which involved renovations to consolidate the Critical Care Unit and Birthing suites. However, the ultimate goal remained the establishment of a cutting-edge facility to unite all services under one roof.

Endorsed by the province, the Redevelopment Project was approved, paving the way for the construction of a new 95,000 square-foot West Wing addition to the McConnell Site. In 2009, ground was broken, initiating the construction of a modern, consolidated acute care hospital. Over the following years, the McConnell Site transformed into a bustling construction zone, bolstering the local trade and hospitality industry and generating over 100,000 hours of construction manpower.

The $126 million project, primarily funded by the province with significant contributions from municipalities and the community through the Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation, symbolized the community’s unwavering commitment to enhancing their hospital.

The project was completed in 2014 and the ultramodern West Wing was unveiled, featuring 37′ glass walls for more natural light, state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging equipment, new operating suites, an updated emergency department, additional services, and cutting-edge technologies.

The closure of the Second Street site that same year marked a pivotal moment, with all services and staff transitioning to the newly consolidated West Wing, officially forming the fully integrated and advanced hospital campus on McConnell Avenue as envisioned.

Since then, CCH has continued its trajectory of innovation and growth to meet changing needs. The implementation of a state-of-the-art electronic health record system in 2016 established CCH as one of Canada’s fully digitally integrated community hospitals, facilitating real-time access to patient information across departments. This system now also facilitates seamless sharing of health records between CCH and local long-term care facilities via the Ontario eHub network, which will soon extend to include regional hospitals.

The amalgamation of Addiction Services of Eastern Ontario in 2013 led to the opening of the Community Addiction and Mental Health Services Centre in 2017, seamlessly integrating adult and youth mental health and addiction services previously dispersed across different sites.

Other notable achievements, made possible by the successful amalgamation and construction of the West Wing, have included the introduction of Cornwall’s first Chemotherapy Clinic in 2016, the opening of the on-site Family Caregiver Centre in 2019, designation as a District Stroke Centre for the East Champlain Region in 2021, and the opening of a new Acute Stroke Unit in 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented unexpected challenges, yet investments in service consolidation since 2004 enabled CCH to effectively respond and recover. Improved infrastructure and technologies, digital connectivity, integrated mental health services, and a consolidated campus provided flexibility and adaptability.

Looking ahead, the future looks bright for CCH. As the hospital stands proud of its accomplishments over the past two decades, CCH is positioned to meet the future needs of the community thanks to its investments over the past 20 years and guided by a shared vision of providing Exceptional Care. Always. Recently the hospital’s acquisition of the property at 825 McConnell Avenue underscores its commitment to maintaining a consolidated hospital campus for the foreseeable future.

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