These are difficult times. Historic times. As the world unites to stem the tide of COVID-19, collectively we must all do our part.
Things are better in Canada, and indeed better in Manitoba than they are in most other parts of the world. We should all be proud of that. If there is one thing that Manitobans are well known for, it is coming together to help one another in times of need.
The Grace Hospital Foundation formally suspended all fundraising activities on March 12. We postponed our Gala from May 14 to September 30 and we cancelled our April direct mail campaign so we could re-direct our staff to help out where needed in the hospital, and to avoid contacting the community who had more important things to worry about.
That has changed for us today. With massive reductions to hospital visitations, staff who are overtaxed but giving it their all, and worried families, we know there is more for us to do now. We are officially launching the Grace Hospital Foundation COVID-19 Fund to raise money to help support our patients, their families and our staff. The hospital needs us.
Our first order of business is to turn on all the bedside TV’s and phones throughout the hospital so that our patients, who now can no longer have visitors, can more easily stay in touch with their loved ones. They can also access television and internet through the bedside terminals to make their days go by faster while in isolation. This is usually a user pay service but we don’t want our patients to worry about paying for this during their serious and stressful time of illness. The supplier of this service is Select Vu. Their parent company, I3, has been working closely with us on this initiative so that it can be rolled out Monday March 30. I3 has absorbed all the costs of upgrading the system so it can be turned on across the site, and they are only charging us on a cost recovery basis for their hard expenses like staff and IT support and management. We are truly grateful to I3 for this partnership.
We have 230 bedside terminals in the hospital, and we are looking to the community for support with this. We intend to turn the TV’s and phones on for three months. If this is required for a longer period then we will extend it. We will also be purchasing some I-Pads for our Intensive Care Unit as they do not have the bedside terminals so that our patients there can Face Time with their loved ones.
Our intention with the COVID-19 Fund is to have on hand a surplus of funds so that we can react to situations as they arise and help as much as we can. As this is a new phenomenon we cannot predict exactly what the needs will be for our patients and staff in the near future. The one thing we know is that there will be needs.
I respectfully ask that you join with us in the extraordinary time and help assure that the Grace is prepared as best we can be, to get through this crisis.
Please be well and please be safe.
Jeffrey A. Coleman
Grace Hospital Foundation