The All Nations Health Partners are proposing a new location for the eventual All Nations Hospital in Kenora.

In a prepared release, partners say the second stage of planning work, which includes identifying which departments need more resources and improvements, has been approved internally and has now been sent to the Ministry of Health for further approvals.

Within their release, partners say they’re proposing a new 81-bed hospital in Kenora on a new site with water access, as well as significant service expansions and enhancements in a number of areas.

Previously, the ANHP were debating whether or not the All Nations Hospital would be an add-on or a total replacement of the Lake of the Woods District Hospital, which is nearly 100 years old and in ‘urgent’ need of replacement. But of note, this proposal still needs the Ministry’s approval to go ahead.

Enhancements within the new facility, wherever it may be located, would include 7 more mental health beds, a 6-bed psychiatry intensive care unit, a 6-bed child and youth zone, an 8-bed adult mental health zone, a 4-bed geriatric behavioural zone, shared spaces, family rooms and traditional healing rooms.

Plans also call for a number of Emergency Department improvements, including a decontamination area, airborne isolation rooms, secure rooms, a security space, a quiet room with smudging capability and improved privacy and patient flows with major, minor, rapid and mental health treatment rooms.

Partners are also proposing a new MRI service and space for a second radiologist, an expansion of surgical services and specialists, new operating rooms, a procedure room, a post-anesthesia recovery room and a day surgery unit.

Plans also include a spiritual care and Indigenous health unit with a full complement of staff, an Indigenous resource centre, spaces to accommodate traditional practices like a ceremonial room and a traditional kitchen, as well as external spaces such as a sweat lodge and places for gatherings.

The All Nations Health Partners completed and submitted their work on the first phase of planning for the project in April 2022 to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The group is hoping to submit the remainder of their second phase of work by the end of the year, with stage 3 in 2023.

“As 2022 comes to a close, so will our planning stages - three long years of hard work and complete dedication,” wrote LWDH Vice President and Project Lead, Cheryl O’Flaherty.

“I am tremendously proud of the work done on this project, the partnerships built, and the input and investment from staff and our communities through engagement sessions to plan our new hospital."

The new hospital is expected to take at least six years to complete if everything goes as planned. The cost of the hospital has not been released publicly.

The hospital will aim to follow a model based on Sioux Lookout’s Meno Ya Win Health Centre with a focus on Indigenous healing and practices, as well as improved staff and patient spaces, a larger emergency room, more accessibility improvements and a number of new technologies.

The All Nations Hospital is a partnership between the LWDH, Ontario government, Kenora Chiefs Advisory, Grand Council Treaty #3, Kenora Métis Council, Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First Nation, City of Kenora and the Township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls.