An expanded heart function clinic opened in Nanaimo on Monday in a larger space designed to deal with a growing number of cardiac patients.
The clinic, at 202-1621 Dufferin Cres., was previously located in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.
Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson, who serves as minister of Mental Health and Addictions, said the new facility will increase the number of people who will be able to get medical assessments, monitoring, education and treatment.
The clinic sees nearly 600 patients annually — almost double the number it saw two years ago.
Dr. Hesam Keshmiri, lead cardiologist at the hospital and director of the clinic, said diagnosing and managing patients’ symptoms as outpatients helps reduce heart failure-related hospitalizations and lessens the burden on the health-care system
The new facility has three more exam rooms and more space for staff. Patients will have more privacy, and staff are able to see more patients. Island Health says it also plans to recruit more cardiologists.
Greg Gunness has been visiting the clinic for seven years, ever since he had a heart attack at age 63 while holidaying in the U.S. He comes into the clinic for regular scans and his medication is adjusted if necessary.
Gunness said he is grateful to the staff at the clinic. “I see how hard they work and how cramped their current space is to work in. I am really happy they are getting a new facility that will improve their work environment,” he said.
The larger clinic includes a meeting room where patients will be able to learn about topics such as lifestyle, nutrition, medications and exercise.
Every year, nearly 4,000 people in the Island Health region are diagnosed with heart failure.