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Ottawa Hospital – Emergency Response Center

The Ottawa Civic Hospital

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Civic Campus was facing longer offload times and more overcrowding in the Emergency Department, in part because there were record numbers of patients in hospital beds who were unable to be moved to long-term care.

To expand the campus’ capacity, decrease patient wait times and improve ambulance responsiveness, Infrastructure Ontario and The Ottawa Hospital joined forces in the fall of 2020 to erect a temporary Offload Medicine Transition Unit (OMTU).


The OMTU is a 10,800-square-foot, 40-bed Sprung structure that now sits in a parking lot beside the Civic Campus. The structure serves as a fully operational facility to support the Civic Campus’ Emergency Department, taking on the overflow of patients requiring care. It includes four staff stations with seating, desktop computers for up to 12 employees, a staff lounge, washroom facilities, showers, a negative-pressure isolation room, and its own ambulance intake area for patient offloading.

Built to withstand the highly variable seasons of the Canadian climate, the OMTU is also equipped with mechanical systems to allow oxygen/suction at each headwall, a nurse call system, and local paging and emergency power, replicating most of the required infrastructure of a hospital. The unit immediately eliminated the chronic problems of long ambulance offload times and overcrowding in the Emergency Department.


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