Thursday, 05 April 2018 07:23

Healthcare Foundation fundraising provides new equipment for Cypress Regional Hospital

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Dr. Michael Kapusta gives a demonstration of the new portable ultrasound unit in the Cypress Regional Hospital's emergency department, March 23. Dr. Michael Kapusta gives a demonstration of the new portable ultrasound unit in the Cypress Regional Hospital's emergency department, March 23.

Mothers and their newborn babies as well as emergency room patients at the Cypress Regional Hospital are benefitting from recent equipment purchases that were funded by the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation.

Healthcare staff at the hospital provided demonstrations of the new equipment during a media tour, March 23.
The foundation's main fundraising campaign during 2017 focused on raising maternity equipment for the hospital. The three birthing beds to properly support a mother during childbirth and two Panda infant warmers were purchased at a total cost of over $150,000.
Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Clay Thompson said the price tag for each birthing bed is about $24,000 and the cost of a Panda infant warmer is close to $50,000.
Each year about 400 babies are born at the Cypress Regional Hospital and after 10 years the old birthing beds were completely worn out.
“Part of our role is to work closely with the health region when something is needed,” he mentioned. “The old stuff is gone, it served its purpose and it was just time. It was nice to do it all as a package, the Panda warmers and the birthing beds.”
The Healthcare Foundation has been raising money since 1999 for equipment in healthcare facilities in southwest Saskatchewan.
“At the beginning of every year we sit down to determine what items we're going to try and gather funds for, and moms and babies are always pretty high profile and something people like to rally around,” he said.
“So it's a good target for us. I hate to put it into a sort of a marketing context, but basically that's what it boils down to, and often it's something that people can relate to and everybody likes to see happy moms and babies.”
According to Ashley Schwartz, a registered nurse in the Women's and Children's Health Services unit at the Cypress Regional Hospital, the new birthing beds are making a real difference to staff and patients.
“These new ones actually aren’t much different than our old ones,” she said. “It was just that the old ones were not functioning great. There’s a couple of different positions that we can put women in a little bit easier with these new beds, which is really nice. Our labour patients have the option to do different positions in labour. We’re extremely thankful to have the new equipment.”
As a result of the recent purchases the unit now has a Panda infant warmer in each labour room and in the nursery, as well as a new warmer in the operating room and an older model in the emergency department.
“Our Panda warmers are awesome,” she said. “It just makes everything so much more streamlined. All the rooms are the same now. So it just makes efficiency and quality of care for our patients that much better.”
The new Panda warmers have a variety of functions and design features to assist nursing staff to care for newborn babies.
It can deliver resuscitation therapy in a precise way, it keeps an infant warm through a very accurate radiant warmer, and it has an integrated bed scale to weigh the baby in a quick and easy way.
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“We’re able to weigh the babies on these new ones, which is probably my favourite feature,” she said. “We had to bring in another scale and the room’s already crowded enough. So we can do it right here and the weight comes right out there and mom and dad can just see it and take a picture with the baby with the weight.”
Staff in the hospital's emergency department use the new portable ultrasound unit to do more accurate assessments of a patient's condition.
“In a matter of a couple of minutes, we can look at all different kinds of things in order to help guide our management decisions,” Dr. Michael Kapusta said. “So it really is an incredibly useful tool in the emergency department. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t use this machine now and it follows me everywhere.”
Dr. Kapusta used different probes during the demonstration to do a variety of scans with the ultrasound unit. The machine allows physicians to make clinical decisions at a patient's bedside.
“We often use it in making critical decisions,” he said. “Prior to having the ultrasound machine I would listen to a heart, but now I can listen to a heart and also look at it with the ultrasound. Before I would listen to the lungs and now I can actually take a look with the ultrasound as well. If I had a sick patient, I was trying to feel their tummy. Now I can actually do that, but I can also take a look with the ultrasound. So it really is an extension of our physical exam in order to help to make those decisions better, faster and with those really sick patients.”
The portable ultrasound machine was purchased at a total cost of around $65,000. This includes three different probes, which is each priced at about $7,000.
The Healthcare Foundation became aware of the need for this piece of equipment after discussions with physicians. Thompson noted that the foundation will usually receive a priority equipment list from the health region.
“They create a priority list and let us know, but sometimes pieces like that ultrasound machine don't make it on there because it's not a piece that they have now and it hasn't worn out or it isn't getting old or run up a timeline or something,” he said. “So not everybody knows that something like that is needed and could really benefit healthcare in the area.”
The request for an ultrasound unit in the emergency room came in early 2017 when the Healthcare Foundation was organizing the inaugural hockey draft fundraiser. Funds from this event and the annual charity golf tournament were therefore used to purchase the ultrasound unit.
“So we had a good chunk of that money gathered and then we did a mail-out campaign to our existing donors,” he said. “The Hutterite community supported it quite well in that campaign as well. We did a direct mail to them and they responded in a big way, as they often do.”
The Healthcare Foundation is still waiting to receive an equipment list for 2018 from the Saskatchewan Health Authority. In the meantime the foundation is working with local communities in southwest Saskatchewan to address their healthcare equipment needs. The planning has started for a fundraising campaign with a goal of about $50,000 for a new bathtub and renovations at the Border Health Centre in Climax.
There have been discussions with other communities, including Cabri and Herbert, about campaigns later this year that will have fundraising goals between $35,000 and $50,000.
“We've got a couple of ideas for this fall's Radiothon,” he said. “We've been approached by Cypress Regional Hospital again for a piece of equipment, but I'm going to hold off just saying, because we've got to make sure that it all works with what the Sask Health Authority wants to see too.”
The creation of a single provincial health authority in Saskatchewan will not change the Healthcare Foundation's mandate to raise funds for equipment that will be used in healthcare facilities in southwest Saskatchewan.
“So moneys donated in this corner of the world stay in this corner of the world and will work towards improving our health care locally,” Thompson said.
Foundation staff are working on various fundraising activities. The Chase the Ace ticket sales and draw happen every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Swift Current Mall, the 2nd annual hockey draft fundraiser takes place on April 9 at the Living Sky Casino, and the 12th annual Charity Golf Classic will be at the Elmwood golf course on June 1.
The Healthcare Foundation's annual general meeting takes place in the community hall at The Meadows at noon on April 11. Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone will be the guest speaker.

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Matthew Liebenberg