A hospital worker wearing a face shield and mask is seen at a COVID-19 assessment centre for staff at Lions Gate Hospital, in North Vancouver, on Thursday, March 19, 2020. (Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Health care

‘A finite resource’: Surrey Hospital Foundation creates COVID-19 response fund

Jane Adams says community reached out to help during pandemic

The Surrey Hospital Foundation is estimating it’s received about $50,000 in donations since launching its COVID-19 Response Fund late last week.

The Surrey Hospital Foundation has created a COVID-19 Response Fund to help purchase equipment for COVID-19 care as well as health and wellness initiatives for frontline workers.

READ ALSO: $1,000 payment for COVID-19 affected workers won’t come till May: B.C. finance ministry, March 24, 2020

Foundation president and CEO Jane Adams said initially that the foundation was looking at the challenges in the business community and the whole economy as the measures for social distancing were put in place.

“Our initial thought was we shouldn’t be talking to people about making donations because they have to look after their family, their loved ones, their employees, etcetera,” Adams told the Now-Leader.

But as it turned out, the community came to them.

“Then very quickly, after the first cases of people hospitalized within our region, and certainly in our province started to get out in the media, we started to receive a lot of calls from people wanting to do something, and they wanted to do something to support the hospital and particularly frontline workers who are kind of in the eye of the storm,” she said.

The community, Adams said, started to reach out in “fairly large numbers.”

After talking to the foundation’s board, Adams said a fund was created for people to contribute to “with the full knowledge that it will be deployed and used expressly and explicitly to support the hospital and the frontline workers that take care of people who are coming into our hospital with this disease.

“We recognize that our health care workers are a precious resource, but they’re also a finite resource.”

Adams said the foundation is talking to possible donors daily, but it’s not only monetary donations.

“Lots and lots of organizations, who can’t donate cash, are coming forward and they are saying we have an unused commercial building if the health authority needs to have space to see non-COVID patients remotely, or do a remote test site.”

With that, she said, the foundation is working with Fraser Health Authority to keep an inventory of those in-kind donations, such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and whether the hospitals need it and if it meets health standards.

“Then what they’ll do is deploy those in-kind resources where they’re needed the most.”

Adams said they’re fortunate in Surrey to have the facility that they do. She said Surrey Memorial Hospital is a “really important asset for the province to have in a pandemic.”

READ ALSO: Surrey Memorial’s biocontainment facility playing big role in B.C.’s COVID-19 response, March 6, 2020

“We are so fortunate that 75 per cent of the emergency rooms are individual rooms,” she said. “The majority of our ICU rooms and our step-down rooms are negative pressure which means we can have COVID patients there, they can be vented out in different ways, so the air doesn’t circulate to reduce cross-contamination.”

Between 2005 and 2011, the community came together to help raise funds for SMH’s critical care tower and new emergency department.

“We are so fortunate, and so much of that support for those types of extras, if you like, came from the community,” said Adams.

“We’d like to remind the people that the investments they made six, 10 years ago are helping us in our time of need. It’s not just about what the community is doing now, it’s also what they’ve done in the past.”

For those who would like to donate to the foundation’s COVID-19 fund, visit surreynowleader.com/covid19.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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