The Stollery Children’s Hospital will be bringing its level of care to Grande Prairie. Its hospital foundation has teamed up with the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation to buy new pediatric equipment and upgrade the youth mental health unit that will be in the new hospital once it opens.
Major surgeries and specialized care for children will still be done out of the Stollery’s location in Edmonton, but there will be opportunities for things like follow-up appointments, tests, and mental health support to be done in Grande Prairie. Regional Hospital Foundation executive director Keith Curtis says the goal is to keep children close to home.
“Everything is designed to either keep families in our community during tough medical issue times or to get them back into our community… If we can take some of the pressure off of our families and the kids, that’s kind of what it’s all about.”
Both hospital foundations have committed to jointly raise $1.5 million as a two-year sub-campaign to the $20 million Key to Care campaign. The goal is to have the funding in place by the end of March 2020, which CEO of Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation Mike House says should be possible with the power of the two brands working together.
“Grande Prairie and the surrounding community is an incredibly generous community and when you make a compelling argument about how children are our future and we want to make sure that we allow for kids to realize their own potential – whatever that looks like – I know that the community will come together in various ways, shapes, and forms to help support kids.”
Close to House’s heart is the youth mental health unit planned for the new hospital. There will be eight rooms and a lounge for children to be with their families, as well as private consultation areas. Curtis explains that in the QEII Hospital, youth mental health patients have their own area in the unit with other patients.
“It’s a little bit more of a calming atmosphere and away from adults so that the kids actually have a place where they can feel comfortable as well.”
While the unit was always part of the budget, the partnership will mean upgrades and add-ons to provide what’s considered the best care possible. It will also fund high fidelity mannequins in infant to teen forms for training.
“You can have nurses and doctors as teams practice on situations that occur before they actually occur in your hospital,” House explains. “That builds up strength and muscle memory and communication skills as you face traumas that come up.”
The funding will also cover tablets that will be used for bedside patient engagement, including medical and nutritional information, training for medical staff, and entertainment and communication for patients and their families. It will also bring a robot that will be used in the emergency to help calm children down.
From April 2017 to March 2018, there were 737 patient visits from Grande Prairie residents to the Stollery.