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CHEO Celebrates Opening of $58 Million Expansion

OTTAWA – Donors, patients, hospital staff and dignitaries joined Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and CHEO President and CEO Michel Bilodeau today to officially open CHEO’s new Garry Cardiff Critical Care Wing.

“Today is an exciting day for CHEO’s staff and physicians, and for the patients and families who are part of the CHEO family,” said Bilodeau. “When CHEO was built 35 years ago, it served a much smaller population. But in recent years we have become the busiest pediatric emergency department in the province, reached our highest-ever occupancy rate, and faced the constant challenge of providing strong patient care in crowded conditions with outdated equipment. This new wing is the first step in updating our building to today’s standards with modern Intensive Care Units and a larger, better equipped Emergency Department.”

Named in honor of CHEO’s former President and CEO Garry Cardiff, who retired in 2006 after 20 years at the helm of the hospital, the new $58 million addition houses the emergency department, the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units and the medical day unit for children and youth afflicted with serious illnesses requiring outpatient treatments.

“Across the province we’re creating jobs while building more quality health care” said Premier McGuinty. “The new Garry Cardiff Critical Care Wing will help more Ottawa kids get the care they need closer to home”.

Staff and patient families were consulted for the design of the new wing, and particular attention was paid to the soothing effects of certain colors and of natural light to ensure that the space provided a nurturing and comfortable environment for recovering patients and their families.

Occupancy of the new wing was carefully planned in order to minimize undue stress to young patients or any disruption of services. The Neonatal and pediatric intensive care units moved in a few weeks ago and are now settled into their new home.

“You can tell that the hospital cared to make life a little easier for us during these extremely trying times” said Dayna Robinson, whose twin daughters are former patients of the unit. The young patients and their families can now benefit from a better physical layout, sleep rooms for parents, playrooms for the kids, workstations for parents, and an overall bigger and brighter space.

“I feel like a proud papa today,” boasted Garry Cardiff. “This beautiful, light-filled building will not only provide hospital personnel with the latest available medical equipment, it will make their work easier and more enjoyable.”

The emergency department successfully moved at the end of August without any service disruptions. The new unit is fifty percent bigger and now features separate ambulance and patient walk-in entrances, an elevator that goes directly to the Critical Care floor, windows in most of the patient treatment rooms, proper isolation rooms and updated equipment.

The new wing was made possible thanks to the generosity of the community, via the CHEO Foundation’s “The Promise” campaign, and the Government of Ontario.

The space freed up by the move to the new wing will be renovated to allow other departments to gain more much needed room.

As a tertiary level hospital, CHEO provides health services to children and youth in various communities throughout Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec and Northern Canada.

Take a virtual tour of the new Garry Cardiff Critical Care Wing (33.6 MB 450 x 247 Flash video)

About the Promise campaign: In April 2000, the CHEO Foundation launched a major fundraising campaign called "The Promise: CHEO's Future" in an effort to raise funds from the community for CHEO's renewal and expansion. The successful campaign reached its $19 million goal in 2003 with the help of numerous individuals and organizations, as well as a contribution from the Ontario Government. Their generosity was critical to the realization of this multi-phase renewal project.

CHEO Media Relations: 613-737-2343
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