Interior Health is seeking bids for a concept plan for a mental health and substance use facility slated for Vernon Jubilee Hospital. (File photo)

Interior Health is seeking bids for a concept plan for a mental health and substance use facility slated for Vernon Jubilee Hospital. (File photo)

Overdue Vernon hospital expansion to remedy mental health bed shortages

Interior Health seeking bids for concept plan for mental health and substance use facility

A major expansion of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital (VJH) is in the works.

Interior Health has released a request for proposals for a concept plan towards building a mental health and substance use facility on the existing VJH campus. The facility would focus on inpatient treatment and assessment, and fill the need for 29 inpatient psychiatric beds that were identified in a 2016 report.

The hospital was constructed in 1947, with the Centennial Wing added in 1968, the Alexander Wing Annex in 1972 and the South tower in 1983. The seven-storey Polson Tower was added to the site in 2011 as a diagnostic and treatment facility complete with two floors of inpatient units.

The Alexander Wing Annex was constructed as a timber-framed building “that is late in its normally expected operational life,” according to the public tender.

According to the documents, the existing annex has issues with meeting the needs of psychiatric patients. Currently operating between 134 and 196 per cent overcapacity, an overflow unit at VJH takes up other inpatient beds until mental health or substance use beds are available.

“The current physical layout is inadequate. Issues include staff and patient safety, lines of sight, and lack of single-person rooms,” reads the project overview document. “The current ‘doughnut’ circulation layout creates blind corners and exposes vulnerable patients to possible harm from others.”

READ MORE: Two Pentictonites get kidney transplants three days apart

Another problem relates to the distance between physicians, who are mostly in Polson Tower, and psychiatric patients, making it “difficult to obtain prompt response on medical issues.”

“The Polson tower expansion increased the response time for the Code White team members to get to unit from the new tower,” the document states.

Almost 50 years after the Alexander Wing Annex was built, the ward has “become functionally obsolete and does not support current best practice delivery models and professional practice standards for patient care. The public tender document cites the growing needs of the general and Indigenous populations as a reason for needing a new facility.

Planning for the project began several years ago, and Interior Health received approval to go ahead with developing a concept plan in the spring of 2020.

The proposed new standalone building would relocate mental health and substance use patients who currently have insufficient space at the hospital. The main component is an inpatient psychiatry and overflow bed unit. A complimentary unit for community programs could include, but is not limited to:

  • Adult short-term assessment and treatment services
  • Eating disorders
  • Mental health and substance use (MHSU) emergency services/assertive response team
  • Intake and Program Response
  • Seniors mental health
  • Addictions/substance use counselling
  • Adult community support services
  • Community mental health outreach/rehab workers
  • Psychiatry consultations
  • MHSU support staff

Interior Health is looking for proposals that include a plan for accommodating parking stalls. Currently, there are 697 stalls at VJH.

A 2016 planning design report by Stantec Architecture will need to be reviewed by potential bidders, according to the tender documents. Other requirements include a project schedule, a schematic design option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a construction phasing plan.

Interior Health is accepting proposals until March 2. A consultant team will be chosen sometime in March, user group meetings will take place from March to June and the schematic design is to be completed by August 2021.

WATCH: Vernon man arrested for not wearing mask in hospital


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Hospitalsmental healthoverdose

Just Posted

McGuire Lake will be on the route of a new Active Loop created around Salmon Arm’s downtown. (File photo)
You’re invited to try a new Active Loop around Salmon Arm’s downtown

Loop created by Downtown Salmon Arm covers about 4.5 kilometres and takes about an hour

Salmon Arm RCMP responded to three incidents involving women concerned for their own safety between June 13 and 17, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP respond to concerns about women being watched, followed

In one of three incidents a woman was invited into a vehicle but declined

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearm, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District advises residents to check on regulations before installing or changing docks, buoys or swimming platforms. (CSRD image)
Stop before you install that dock, buoy or swim platform in a Shuswap lake

Columbia Shuswap Regional District advises residents to check first as regulations may apply

Gift from the Heart on June 26 offers no-cost dental hygiene to people who can’t otherwise afford it. First booked, first served. (File photo)
Day for no-cost dental hygiene treatment coming up in Salmon Arm

Smile People clinic takes part in Gift from the Heart, first booked, first served basis

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

Most Read