We see the donations pouring in, but we don't always get the opportunity to see first hand how the dollars are making a real difference in the community.
Last week Carolee Zorn, Yorkton's Out of Scope Maternity Manager at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre (YRHC) invited local media into the hospital to see in person how dollars being spent by The Health Foundation are going a long way in improving health care services.
While money is spent in a variety of needed areas, Zorn says she can say without question donations have vastly helped to better the maternity ward at the YRHC.
With a definite shortage of nurses, a growing population and nearly double the number of births happening at the local health centre, up-to-date equipment is crucial for efficiency. The Health Foundation, she says, is helping to ensure staff at the hospital have what they need to do their jobs.
Among the recent purchases made with donation dollars are two fetal monitors that came with them a price tag of $21,000. It's needed equipment that Zorn says would be difficult – at best – to do without.
"We were to the point where we were feeling the pressure because the fetal monitors we did have were on their last legs. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn't..." she says.
The new monitors are up-to-date and have full warranty.
"The fetal monitors are an integral part of the work that we do... they help us to see the health of the fetus while it's still inside the mother by analyzing the baby's heart beat," says Zorn.
"We use them everyday and almost on every patient that we see. Without them we can still monitor but we have to do it differently and it doesn't give us that hard, paper graph of what we need to see to determine the baby's health. We really depend on them in our everyday work."
They are also a bit of a recruitment tool. Doctors and nurses prefer to go where there is a favorable work environment.
And in spite of ongoing recruitment and retention efforts Zorn says, "We're strapped for nurses right now... we have nearly double the number of births happening annually and the same number of nurses."
Bringing in new, modern equipment is another way of helping to boost recruitment and retention.
In 14 years The Health Foundation raised just over $13 million and over 83 per cent, or over $10,700,000, was invested back into medical equipment or facilities.
The medical equipment purchased has clear benefits for everyone in Sunrise health Region says Ross Fisher, Executive Director of The Health Foundation:
• "With community support we have improved our doctors' ability to diagnose medical conditions;
• Lives have been saved because of earlier detection and treatment;
• There are over 10,000 examinations or procedures done on equipment purchased by The Health Foundation; our residents used to have to travel to Regina or Saskatoon for those services;
• That has improved access to medical care and many services are now faster and more efficient.
By supporting the work of The Health Foundation our donors have been part of making our region a better place to live."