A system held together by tape

The state of Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville illustrates the frustrations the public have with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, government and the state of provincial health care.

Valley Regional Hospital is one of the province’s newer facilities. It’s a critical element in making Kentville one of the province’s four main medical centres. And as the main health facility in Nova Scotia wine country it’s a recruitment star. Yet, it seems to be falling apart.

Everywhere you look is duct tape. I’ve been going to Valley Regional on an almost daily basis since mid-June. In six months the only fixes I’ve seen are the application of new pieces of duct tape on existing problems. Thinking back, some of these duct tape fixes have been in place for years.

In addition to floor tiles taped into place, are gashes in walls of patient rooms. Some holes have tape on them, some show a start to a dry-wall fix which was not completed, others are ignored. Then there is the chipped furniture both in patient rooms and nurses’ stations as well as stuffing busting out of split upholstery in nurses’ chairs. Nova Scotia may not be the richest place in North America, but we’re not a Third World country. Our leading hospitals shouldn’t look like we are. It’s untidy looking and a health hazard.

This is troubling because loose tiles or degraded under-floors are a hazard to patients, visitors and staff. The holes in walls and nibbled-away furniture are places which can’t be cleaned and therefore become breeding spaces for bacteria and superbugs, thus making

Inside Valley Regional’s main entrance, just past the information desk and leading to the business offices is this loose, duct-taped-in-place tile.

patients less safe.

I don’t fault the maintenance staff for this. The blame is squarely on hospital management. Either they haven’t given the maintenance department the money or authority to fix these things or the executives are blind to the problems. That’s not surprising given how rarely hospital and health care executives are ever on-site.

Since the NSHA can’t look after those facilities in its care, they shouldn’t be given more to manage. Our needs seem to be above the abilities of the NSHA executives.

Top of the steps leading to the cafeteria from the main atrium of Valley Regional Hospital are these loose tiles.

Taped tiles in the main atrium of Valley Regional Hospital.

Another tape fix at Valley Regional’s main atrium.

This cluster of duct-taped tiles in the corridor leading to Medical Units A & B are so loose they click when stepped on.

Another main corridor tape fix at Valley Regional Hospital.

This duct tape is over a weakness in the floor. There are layers and layers of tape. Wheel a gurney or wheelchair over this or step on it and the area just beyond it and the floor sags. If someone were on crutches they could go flying. The underfloor has failed. The only thing holding this section of floor up is the linoleum. This is between Medical unit A & B.

There is a thin line of red tape around the admissions window at Valley Regional’s ER. The linoleum has a long-existing, never-fixed problem with the seam between two pieces of flooring.

Duck tape covers a corner in a room in a holding unit.

Different room with damaged corner. No duct tape yet applied.

A different patient room gash in wall.

Same patient room, different hole in wall. Both are breeding grounds for disease.

This unfinished dry wall repair is in a different room in the same medical unit.

This is a hall station where the dry wall finish has been eaten away by hand cleaner.

Nibbled away door bottom for yet another room. How does this happen?

The corner of a patient night table has crumbed away. Another rough, unwashable surface on which gems can breed?

The construction of a new dialysis unit – the one announced in 2012 – has blocked off an emergency exit for Medical B.

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4 Responses to A system held together by tape

  1. buddyboy546 says:

    Each and every defect shown to the building itself involves a relatively quick and easy fix. Heck, I am just a homeowner handyman and I could fix the walls and floors, no problem. There has to be a disturbing story behind the reason for these issues being neglected. One logical explanation is that someone in charge has shares in the duct tape company. Has this been raised with anyone yet?

    • I believe it goes to the level of micro-management which takes place in our health care system.

      Valley Regional is having a dialysis unit added to it. This was announced by the NDP in 2012. When the minister made the announcement they hadn’t determined where the unit would be built or the design of it. A VP at the local authority, Tim Guest, explained that would take two years to approve and design. Well, two years became five. Plus another two years for site clearing and construction. I have been told there are problems with the construction process. The NSHA will deny that, but …

      On other hospital property they are finishing the construction of a hospice. Janet Knox actually left her Halifax office to come to the Valley for a photo op with the Premier as the turned the sod for the hospice. What wasn’t mentioned was this hospice was first announced in 1997. It was announced several more times. Fundraising for it proceeded well, so then Annapolis Valley District Health Authority, lead by Janet Knox, decided to bundle that capital project with some lesser pet projects which lacked the cheque-writing appeal of th hospice. So while $4.2 million sat in the bank ready to build the hospice, the local foundation took another four years to raise another $4 million. The health authority’s $8.4 million target reached, they then went into the lengthy process of issuing RFPs and tenders for design and construction.

      Basically, those terminally ill people in the Valley had to wait an extra 10 years for the vanity and photo ops for health executives and politicians.

      Is it any wonder we can’t fix these tiles, holes and furniture? It wears on staff and patients and patient families who are already frustrated by so many other issues in the system.

  2. brucewbishop says:

    Just terrible. And yet the executives are making piles of dough. Surely they can see the look of the place even with their regular blinders on.

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