Vancouver Convention Health Centre (COVID-19 Response): Planning, implementation, and four lessons learned


  • D. Ross Brown, OMM, CD, MD, FRCSC
  • Peter Hennecke, RN, BScN, MA, CD
  • Doug Nottebrock, MD
  • Paul Dhillon, MSc, DM-EMDM, CCFP(EM), DTM&H(Lon), FRGS



COVID-19, field hospital, alternate care site


The Vancouver Convention Health Centre (VCHC) was rapidly set up as a part of the COVID-19 response in British Columbia in order to create surge hospital capacity bed space. Multiple field hospitals were set up across the country in preparation for a possible surge and the VCHC utilized a non-traditional health care space and overlaid it with medical infrastructure. Maximum flexibility was required in planning for multiple patient populations and a novel four-box concept to plan for the requirements of the respective possible populations was developed. Key difficulties that needed to be overcome in planning COVID-19 medical care delivery in a non-traditional space included oxygen delivery, unknown future patient populations, and staffing. A clear recommendation can also now be made that healthcare provision should be considered during the design and build of new recreational or convention facilities in all communities.

Author Biographies

D. Ross Brown, OMM, CD, MD, FRCSC

Co-Senior Medical Director, Coastal Community of Care, Vancouver Coastal Health and VCH/PHC COVID-19 Regional Emergency Operations Centre Director; Clinical Professor, Department of Surgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Peter Hennecke, RN, BScN, MA, CD

Clinical Operations Director, BC Mobile Medical Unit—Health Emergency Management BC (HEMBC), Vancouver, BC, Canada

Doug Nottebrock, MD

Canadian Red Cross (International Operations); Emergency Physician, Kelowna General Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine; Clinical Assistant Professor, UBC Department of Emergency Medicine, Kelowna, BC, Canada

Paul Dhillon, MSc, DM-EMDM, CCFP(EM), DTM&H(Lon), FRGS

Medical Planner, COVID-19 Response, Vancouver Coastal Health; Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of British Columbia, Sechelt, BC, Canada


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How to Cite

Brown, OMM, CD, MD, FRCSC, D. R., P. Hennecke, RN, BScN, MA, CD, D. Nottebrock, MD, and P. Dhillon, MSc, DM-EMDM, CCFP(EM), DTM&H(Lon), FRGS. “Vancouver Convention Health Centre (COVID-19 Response): Planning, Implementation, and Four Lessons Learned”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 15, no. 2, Apr. 2020, pp. 143-8, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2020.0365.



From the Field