Years of fundraising, design work and renovation have finally paid off with the opening of the first of four state-of-the-art inpatient units at the Dartmouth General Hospital.

The six million dollar project promises to improve patient care.

"This a combined project of the government of Nova Scotia,” said Dr. Todd Howlett, Chief of Staff at the Dartmouth General Hospital. “The Liberal government funded it, along with partners of the Dartmouth General Foundation."

$1.8 million comes from the Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation.

After 40 years, the hospital floors had to be gutted to remove asbestos. The remaining older units were built to the standard of the time.

Three of the four new units are still works in progress. When all four units are complete, they will be able to handle 119 patients.

The experts say the environment contributes to healing.

“(It’s) a much better environment in which to recover,” said Adrienne Malloy of the Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation. “The families and patients have said a great deal about what it means to them, to have such a much improved environment."

In an age of antibiotic-resistant microbes, infection control is a top priority so the new units include more washing stations for staff. Team control centres are also set up in the units to house all hospital records in one area, and to allow staff to meet with and discuss the needs of the patient and their family.

“It feels less busy than our other units,” said Health Services director Heather Francis. “It’s obviously much less cluttered. In fact, some people thought we actually widened the hallways.”

There’s still more to come at the hospital. In July, more information is expected about a major expansion, set to accommodate the eventual shutdown of the Centennial Building at the old Victoria General Hospital.

With files from CTV’s Ron Shaw.