BC’s Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) has embarked on its longest deployment to date, demonstrating once more its important role as a business continuity and emergency management resource.
The MMU, which came under the management of PHSA in 2011, is currently set up as a temporary emergency department while Pemberton Health Centre (PHC) is undergoing planned renovations. It arrived in Pemberton on March 21 and will remain in place for the next seven weeks to ensure those living in the Pemberton Valley area receive the medical care they’ve come to expect from PHC.
The MMU supports BC’s six health authorities for planned (business continuity) and unplanned (emergency) situations. Renovation support is just one application that demonstrates the PHSA vision of Province-wide solutions. Better health. by facilitating continued delivery of quality care, while allowing hospitals and health centres to undergo essential facility upgrades.
In the months leading up to this deployment, the MMU team at PHSA worked closely with leaders from Vancouver Coastal Health to ensure that business continues as usual for PHC and the community it serves. This means operating hours, level of care provided, and overall procedures and protocols for Pemberton are unchanged during the renovation.
For this deployment, the MMU’s flexible interior has been configured to mirror the PHC five-bed emergency department, with the MMU’s main patient care area hosting four beds (including two with high-acuity monitors), clinical storage, and pharmacy areas. The MMU’s multi-purpose room has been set-up as a trauma/resuscitation room.
While the MMU is maintained in a constant state of readiness when not deployed, it still takes time to set up once it arrives on site. The essential set-up period includes populating the unit with mission-specific equipment and supplies, activating electrical and data connections, and orientating the local health authority staff who will work in the unit. For planned deployments, this phase may take up to a week (depending on complexity of the mission), and in emergency situations, it is delivered in a just-in-time fashion.
Since 2011, the MMU has spent more than 100 days on the road supporting facilities throughout the province. Other key roles for the MMU include public health outreach, event medical support, simulation medical education, and 24/7 emergency response to disasters or other emergencies that result in reduced clinical capacity for a hospital or health centre.