Foundation funds High Acuity Unit for Royal Jubilee Hospital to support COVID-19 patients

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation will donate $7 million for priority care needs at Royal Jubilee Hospital.

An immediate $1 million will fund equipment needed to outfit an interim High Acuity Unit (HAU) for critical care at the Royal Jubilee in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another $6 million will support the construction of a new permanent HAU at Royal Jubilee — the first of its kind on Vancouver Island.

“While Island Health hospitals are currently treating our initial COVID-19 confirmed patients, we know that number will increase and we will be ready to support their needs,” said Leah Hollins, board chair with Island Health.

Royal Jubilee Hospital is one of two designated primary care sites for COVID-19 patients on the Island.

READ ALSO: Royal Athletic Park will not be a shelter site during COVID-19 crisis: Victoria mayor

The first $1 million will purchase eight critical care beds — specially designed to care for ventilated and other complex patients — along with funding upgrades to the critical care patient monitoring system, including a new central monitoring station and eight new patient monitors; and one new dedicated ultrasound and other vital specialized equipment.

The permanent HAU will provide a critical level of care that is intermediate between Intensive Care Units and acute care units. The new HAU will benefit patients with a wide range of serious medical conditions, including severe respiratory distress, shock and those recovering from surgery among many other conditions. This level of care can not be provided in the regular ward.

The commitment from the Victoria Hospitals Foundation accelerates plans that have been in development for the last two years. Island Health has committed operational funding to the project and began hiring nurses earlier this year.

“I cannot describe just how important the High Acuity Unit will be. It will absolutely save lives, of that I have no doubt,” said Dr. Omar Ahmad, department head of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine with Island Health.

READ ALSO: Controls can keep Canadian COVID-19 deaths under 22,000, health agency says

The $7 million commitment comes as a result of momentum and community engagement since the launch of its latest initiative, Hospital Heroes of Victoria, on March 25. In a matter of days, the campaign saw hundreds of community members share messages of praise and encouragement for the hospital front line. This campaign inspired the initial $1 million commitment for the equipment, which will be used in the new HAU and purchased immediately.

The Foundation has now launched It’s Critical, a dedicated campaign to raise the $7 million needed.

Donations directed to It’s Critical and the Hospital Heroes of Victoria initiative in support of this campaign, ensure local care teams have access to critical tools and technology as well as supports for staff and medical staff during these challenging times, as determined by Island Health. While provincial and federal governments continue to fund COVID-19 expenses, the support of the community through the Victoria Hospitals Foundation allows other critical equipment to be in place in Victoria’s hospitals sooner, as 40 per cent of equipment at Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals is funded by donors.

Contributions to this ambitious campaign can be made by donating online at www.victoriahf.ca/critical, mailing a cheque, through gifts of securities, or calling 250-519-1750.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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