A state-of-the-art Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) visited Port Hardy to offer the public, hospital staff, and community partners an opportunity to explore the medical facility.
The unit, which is the only one-of-its-kind in Canada, opened its doors for the public to take a peek inside upon its arrival at the Port Hardy Hospital on June 7.
“Our goal is to travel to every health authority every year for the long list of missions that we do,” said MMU Clinical Director Peter Hennecke, adding “This year for the island we wanted to come here for the education component and run a clinic while we are here in Port Hardy.”
The MMU will stay in Port Hardy until June 10 to provide educational clinics for hospital staff and community health partners as well as a respiratory clinic for Port Hardy patients.
“We had asked the site what needs do you have for your community that you don’t readily have access too, amongst the list respiratory screening was identified, and that is a fairly easy one for us to do in here,” said Hennecke, adding that a respiratory therapist from Nanaimo will be running the clinic in the MMU for to screen patients who would normally have to travel to get that particular screening.
The MMU is housed in a 16-metre tractor-trailer that expands to a 90-square-metre (1,000 square feet) flexible facility with up to six to eight patient treatment bays.
It can be deployed anywhere in the province when disaster strikes or when additional capacity is needed to cope with emergencies or large-scale public events. The MMU has also been deployed to support planned hospital renovations and outpatient clinics
“Our longest mission to date was last year with the opioid crisis in Vancouver, we were positioned in the downtown east side for six months, that was supporting Vancouver Coastal Health while they set up their clinics for the response,” explained Hennecke.
The MMU also features state-of-the-art equipment like human patient simulators, which have a pulse, blink, and can be used to practice procedures like intubation.
“It adds to the realism and people can do procedures on these mannequins – it’s a non-threatening learning environment where staff can work as a team,” said Hennecke.
The MMU was also able to offer training for Port Hardy BC Ambulance.
“We are going to be going to be working with the local ambulance station and working with the paramedics there and delivering some customized education based upon their needs,” said MMU paramedic Jesse Sheridan.
Paramedics were also invited to the all-day education session held by the MMU staff on June 9.
The MMU was set up for the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics after which it became a part of the provincial mandate. It is owned by the Provincial Health Authority and shared amongst all of BC’s health authorities including Fraser Health, Interior Health, Island Health, Northern Health, and Vancouver Coastal Health.