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Reshaping Intensive Care: A letter from Burnaby Hospital’s Site Medical Director

Reshaping Intensive Care: A letter from Burnaby Hospital’s Site Medical Director

September 09, 2023

Burnaby Hospital is a very special place. All of us who work here strive to ensure that our patients and families experience excellence in the care we provide. What makes our hospital special is that we are driven to providing that care in a way that ensures dignity and compassion for everyone who crosses through our door. That is what first drew me to Burnaby Hospital in 2015 and I am proud to say that has never changed despite the challenges we have faced.

As an Intensive Care Specialist — an Intensivist — I am privileged to look after patients and their families when they are at their sickest and most vulnerable. Dignity, empathy, and respect are foremost in our minds when looking after people in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), especially as we often never see them again once their crisis is over.

I am thus extremely glad to share some exciting news with you today. As part of our greatly
anticipated redevelopment, the planned expansion and upgrade to our ICU will include new
programs such as continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), a type of continuous dialysis
for critically ill patients.

These new services will enable us to provide a higher level of specialized care and will elevate us to becoming a tertiary care ICU.

Tertiary care capability will be transformative for our hospital. It will create fundamental advancements in the levels of care we can offer in the ICU and as a hospital. Our hospital’s redevelopment projects, especially in the ICU, will allow us to ensure that our patients are able to receive a greater continuum of care within their own community, close to their own homes rather than being transferred elsewhere.

It will mean that if you or a loved one are ever in our ICU and develop organ failure, there will be no need for us to move you to another hospital.

Imagine, if you can, that your loved one has been admitted to and is receiving treatment in our ICU for a week. You’ve developed relationships and a level of trust with the care providers in the ICU. Then very, very suddenly as can happen when someone is critically ill, your loved one experiences kidney failure and requires urgent continuous dialysis.

Currently, this will mean that your loved one will need to be transferred to another site for CRRT, often as far away as Abbotsford. In the midst of an already difficult time, you will now face new stresses of travelling, getting to know a new care team, of being further away from your local supports.

This is why we need your help now — to help bring advanced therapies such as CRRT to our
hospital to ensure we are able to provide more and more care ourselves, closer to home.

The Foundation and its supporters like you are an integral part of our redevelopment project. No donation is too small and I can assure you that our patients, their families, and the staff within the ICU will be forever grateful.

In my roles as an Intensivist, as the former Department Head of Critical Care Service, and now as Site Medical Director, I have been passionate about advocating for the needs of our community and its hospital. With your help, we can raise the level of care we provide in our own community so that the sickest patients don’t require being moved away from their families to receive treatment.

With your help, we can raise the level of care we provide in our own community so that our ICU staff are not lured away to other hospitals that offer tertiary level services such as CRRT dialysis.

Support better care close to home – donate here.

Learn more about the changes to Burnaby Hospital’s ICU.


Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed
Site Medical Director
Burnaby Hospital