Victoria Hospitals Foundation launches $7M campaign to fund critical care units at Royal Jubilee amid COVID-19

Victoria Hospitals Foundation launches $7M campaign to fund critical care units at Royal Jubilee amid COVID-19
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The Royal Jubilee Hospital is benefited by the funding to create High Acuity Units

As B.C. health authorities work to flatten the COVID-19 curve, the Victoria Hospitals Foundation has launched a $7 million campaign to fund priority critical care needs at Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH).

Starting immediately, $1 million will be used to buy equipment needed for a temporary High Acuity Unit (HAU) in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This will include eight new critical care beds specifically designed for ventilated patients.

The interim unit will also receive a new ultrasound and other specialized equipment and upgrades to the patient monitoring system, including eight new patient monitors.

Wasting no time, Island Health is working with its partners to get these items in as quickly as possible, and purchasing has already begun.

The other $6 million will be used to build a new permanent HAU at the hospital, the first of its kind on Vancouver Island.

“Today we are facing unprecedented times, and all members of the Island Health family are responding with energy, commitment and compassion for those we are privileged to serve,” shared Leah Hollins, Board Chair of Island Health.

“While Island Health hospitals are currently treating our initial COVID-19 confirmed patients, we know that number will increase and we will be ready to support their needs.”

Royal Jubilee Hospital is one of two designated primary sites for COVID-19 patients on the Island, and this special unit will provide an intermediate critical level of care in between ICU and acute care units.

“HAUs benefit patients with a wide range of serious medical conditions, including severe respiratory distress, shock, and those recovering from surgery among many other conditions. This level of care cannot be provided on the regular ward,” said Island Health in a release.

The funding puts into motion plans that have been developing for the past two years. Island Health already committed operational funding to this project and began hiring and training nurses earlier this year.

“As a front line caregiver, this is the very best support we can ask for at this time and for the future,” says Dr. Omar Ahmad, Department Head of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine with Island Health. “These investments will support us as we move through the waves of this pandemic today, and ensures Island Health has the critical care capacity and ability to offer the absolute best support to individuals with high acuity needs well beyond today.”

“I cannot describe just how important the High Acuity Unit will be. It will absolutely save lives, of that I have no doubt,” Ahmad adds. “Please know this need is so critical, and we truly value all community members who can support us. We are in this together, now more than ever.”

The $7 million commitment from the Foundation comes as a result of great momentum and community engagement since the launch of its latest initiative, Hospital Heroes of Victoria, on March 25. In a matter of days, the campaign saw hundreds of community members share messages of praise and encouragement for the hospital front line.

Now, the Foundation is launching It’s Critical, a dedicated campaign to raise the $7 million needed.

“More than ever, we see our community united, and deeply connected to our hospitals. This is just the beginning. Our community needs this critical care expansion; it’s an urgent priority for now,” shares Steve McKerrell, Board Chair of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.

“Our community has already shown great support for our front line heroes and has funded a portion of our $7 million commitment,” he adds. “We are genuinely moved, and we know we will continue to be astonished by the outpouring of community spirit in the weeks to come. We cannot do this without their continued support.”

While the federal and provincial government continue to support COVID-19 expenses, donors fund 40 per cent of the Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospital’s equipment.

Donations directed to It’s Critical and the Hospital Heroes of Victoria initiative in support of this campaign, ensure local care teams have access to critical tools and technology as well as supports for staff and medical staff during these challenging times, as determined by Island Health.

If you would like do donate to the It’s Critical campaign, visit the Victoria Hospital Foundation’s website, mail in a cheque, or call 250-519-1750.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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