St. Francis Valley Healthcare foundation benefits from Legion donation

On March 26 representatives from the Royal Canadian Legion, Barry’s Bay Branch 406 and local healthcare partners St. Francis Valley Healthcare Foundation (SFVH) and St. Francis Memorial Hospital (SFMH) met at the Legion Hall as a donation of $5,100 was presented to SVFH. Above from left: Erin Gienow, Executive Director, SFVH Foundation; Mary Ellen Harris, CNE, SFMH; Greg McLeod, COO, SFMH; Heather Poliquin, Br.406 President; Aileen Yantha, Ladies Auxiliary (LA); John Stecko, Membership Chair and Seniors Officer.

Heather Poliquin explained that the Legion donation resulted from an application by SFVH to the Ontario Provincial Command Branches and Ladies’ Auxiliary Charitable Foundation. She said that Legion Branches and LAs donate to that Foundation and Provincial Command every year, then the Ontario Command uses those funds to support hospitals when they make requests and Legion Branches facilitate the presentation.

Erin Gienow, SFVH Executive Director, said the grant of $5,100 has paid for four new mattresses to be used on stretchers in the Emergency Department. The new mattresses have greater infection protection and control (IPAC) capability than the ones previously used in Emerg, said Greg McLeod, Chief Operating Officer for SFMH. He pointed out, “The province does not pay for any medical equipment whatsoever – it’s all community based funds that goes towards it – there’s no provincial program for mattresses, X-ray equipment. Thank you to everyone who recognizes that. Everything that is healthcare grade is just remarkably expensive.”

Mary Ellen Harris, Chief Nursing Executive SFMH, told The Current, that the new mattresses are “more enhanced than the ones we had in Emerg” as they are much thicker and more pressure-relieving. She said with only ten active and ten complex-care beds, SFMH has been over-capacity for some time on a regular basis. Harris explained, “If we have someone who is not able to get to an in-patient bed very quickly and spends some of their admission in the Emergency Dept. they are much more comfortable and safe.”

McLeod said, “The hospital has been dealing with tremendous occupancy issues, just in terms of our inability to transfer or discharge patients to Long Term Care or home care or whatever it might be. What’s been happening is more people have been spending greater amounts of time in the Emerg.” He said COVID-19 had exacerbated the occupancy issue for SFMH, and that it’s a province-wide issue right now: “Two days ago we were at 120 percent occupancy.”

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