As touched on in our previous post, in December of 2016, we were approached by Interior Health with a problem. The lease for their fixed safe injection site was ending soon, and the group was unable to find a new location. Thus, we were presented with the opportunity to come up with an alternate solution and we explored the option of using a vehicle.
With April of 2017 as the deadline, we needed to act fast. After weighing our options, we opted to refurbish a recreational vehicle (RV). We re-purposed the dining area of the RV for reception and administration. Additionally, we cleared the master bedroom to serve as a recovery area and punched a hole in the back and built stairs to act as a secondary egress point.
Since the first Kelowna I-MIS was supplied in April 2017, and the second in Kamloops a month later, there have been more than 60,000 visits to date.
Through these deployments to Interior Health, we were able to learn a few valuable lessons going forward for the development of our subsequent I-MIS units.
Durability is Important
- RVs are not specifically built for high-throughput use. We realized that if we are going to make vehicles dedicated to mobile consumption sites, we needed a more robust platform.
Mobile Work Environments are Unique
- Not everybody is a mechanic, nor is accustomed to doing vehicle maintenance as part of their daily healthcare duties.
- Access to wi-fi and a security system that keeps staff safe and connected.
- WorkSafe requirements must be factored in.
- In our case, the stairs on the back of I-MIS 1 did not have the proper stair angle, thread width, and railings. This made the utilization of these stairs difficult.
The first I-MIS units that were deployed into Kelowna and Kamloops have been successful and provided a much needed solution to an urgent issue. Additionally, they highlighted some of the unique considerations of going mobile, including the fact that RVs may not offer the best solution for I-MIS units in the future…..