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County helping fund new hospital bedside engagement

The new patient bedside engagement system for the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital is almost fully funded. The County of Grande Prairie has committed to spending one million dollars over 10 years starting in 2020 to ensure it makes it into the new hospital.

The new partnership between the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation and the Stollery Children’s Hospital should cover the cost of the system for the pediatrics department. Foundation executive director Keith Curtis says that means it’s about 75 per cent funded, with $523,000 remaining.

“We are also working with one more donor at this point. By the time the hospital opens and the end of the campaign that area should be fully funded, for sure.”

The plan is to have tablets at every bed that patients can use for communication through social media and video chat, music and movies for entertainment, and education. Curtis explains they will be loaded with medical information and training videos, and will connect to Alberta Health Service’s system to give doctors and nurses direct access to personal medical information.

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“We’re so grateful to the County of Grande Prairie. They really did their homework and they really are helping us in making this a reality.”

The funding will be coming out of a reserve made up of royalties from the County’s gravel pits. Reeve Leanne Beaupre says helping the hospital is the right fit for it.

“That reserve really was to go to something that was to the benefit of the whole County of Grande Prairie, and what better than the engagement system for the new hospital.”

One of the aspects that really attracts Beaupre to the investment is the ability for patients to access educational materials in the hospital that they can then take home with them. She says she’s seen a gap in hospital-based care to home-based care.

“A lot of people leave a hospital going, ‘now what?’ This will actually really change a lot of how we look after ourselves and how our extended care is.”

An updated opening for the new hospital has not been given since Clark Builders took over as construction manager.

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