Foundation set to kick off Elder Care Campaign

“Seniors live life with multiple and increasing chronic health conditions.” ~ Lisa Pasin.

The complex health profile of older adults entering an acute care hospital is at the forefront of the KBRH Health Foundation’s current fundraising efforts.

The Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Health Foundation launches its $325,000 Elder Care Campaign Friday, and is pleased to announce $100,000 in pledges already committed from the Rossland and Trail health care auxiliaries.

The Elder Care Campaign looks to minimize the vulnerability of frail patients with improved comfort through supportive equipment that will help prevent falls, delirium and decreased mobility all while increasing safety to ensure the elderly can return home successfully.

Requested equipment includes Spirit low beds, designed to prevent falls; Broda chairs to maintain safe, upright positioning; ceiling lifts and hover mats; senior-friendly bathrooms (with walking aid access and assistance devices such as railings and walk-in showers); a Snoezelen machine designed to soothe and calm residents by stimulating the senses and improving social interaction; and a rehabilitation kitchen used by patients to participate in basic duties and help ready them for returning home.

Multiple departments — medical, surgical, emergency room and occupational therapy — will benefit from the sought out improvements at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH), according to Lisa Pasin, foundation director of development.

“Seniors live life with multiple and increasing chronic health conditions,” noted Pasin.

“Hospitalization can dramatically impact seniors’ wellness and time spent in hospital contributes to the loss of important functions such as strength and mobility, which are critical to their independence and well-being.”

Almost half of the patients (45 per cent) admitted to KBRH over the last two years were 65 years old or older, according to Jane Cusden, who was instrumental in bringing the campaign forward.

The acute heath service director at KBRH agrees that hospitalized seniors can lose important functions.

“When an elder person enters the hospital with an acute admission, they become vulnerable to unexpected challenges,” she adds. “The impact on their recovery can be lessened by elder-friendly equipment and using specific equipment focused on elder care can be a great benefit to lessen days in hospital.”

Cusden considers the campaign a great opportunity to focus on the hospital’s elderly population and is thankful the enhanced care vision is shared and supported by the foundation.

“This is a patient sector that we have not exclusively fundraised for in many years,” shared Pasin. “When choosing major campaigns, the foundation works closely with IHA, in particular site leadership at KBRH, to determine a priority need within the facilities we fundraise for. The Elder Care Campaign was determined to be a high priority for this site.”

Since 1988, the foundation has raised over $13.9 million through donations from private and corporate donors. Funding priorities include raising endowed gifts and annual funds to support health care equipment needs, staff education, and special initiatives to enhance health care through the Trail hospital and other Kootenay Boundary facilities.

Major campaigns completed over the years include the Ambulatory Care Wing ($1.1 million) finished in 2002 and the Children’s Health Care Initiative ($1.14 million) completed in 2010.

The foundation wrapped up its $400,000 Urology Campaign in January, with $498,000 raised, and tackled a mini-campaign in support of a $795,000 airborne isolation room (mostly covered by Interior Health and the West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District) with $57,000 in top-up funds.

Campaign discussion starts about six months before kick off with communication between Interior Health and the foundation. Talks centre around what the next priority is in the region, always focusing on needs not met through capital funding.

“Canada’s population is aging, and it is recognized that hospitals need to be more senior friendly to accommodate the complex health-care needs of our aging population as they enter the acute care hospital system, whether for short or long-term stays,” added Pasin. “Patient’s wellness and functionality need to be maintained and improved upon, to avoid lengthy hospital stays.

“Safety, independence, comfort and dignity of patients must be prioritized, and this requires specialized equipment and improvements.”

For information or to donate contact the KBRH Health Foundation toll-free at 1888-364-3424, locally at 250-364-3424 or email info@ kbrhhealthfoundation.ca.