Every day, between 200 and 250 people access care at the Charles V. Keating Emergency and Trauma Centre at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. Many people come from the community in an urgent situation – in pain, injured, frightened, vulnerable, or alone.
Now, thanks to the generosity of 24 QEII Foundation donors and one donor who left a gift in their will, patients receiving care through the QEII Emergency and Trauma Centre have access to comfort items designed to improve their healthcare experience and well-being during their time in the emergency department.
“The reality is that patients are spending longer in the emergency department than it is designed for,” says Dr. Janet MacIntyre, clinical chief, QEII Charles V. Keating Emergency and Trauma Centre and emergency medicine physician. “The items we’ve acquired, thanks to the generosity of donors, put extra tools into the hands of our staff to complement the incredible care they deliver daily to patients,” she adds.
Dr. MacIntyre explains that QEII emergency medicine experts identified items that help improve a patient’s experience, ensure they remain socially connected to their support systems and have access to comfort items that help with their physical and emotional health.
A benefit to patients and the healthcare system
QEII Foundation donors contributed over $70,000, adding more technology like tablets with stands, which are used for interpretive services for patients who do not speak English, ensuring clear communication between them and their healthcare providers. Donor funds helped to acquire mobile phones and phone chargers, allowing patients to connect with their loved ones and keep their families informed. Social connection is vital for patients in also addressing their stress and anxiety during a hospital stay, Dr. MacIntyre explains.
The funds are also supporting new digital screens, displaying information about wait times, processes and resources within the health centre that are beneficial in keeping patients and families aware and informed.
The funds are also supporting the purchase of Geri chairs, which are designed for patients who are fragile or living with mobility issues. The chairs are critical in getting patients out of bed or out of uncomfortable seating; without Geri chairs, patients can face decreased mobility, with the risk of extending their hospital stay.
For patients who are already experiencing severe health issues, an extended stay in the emergency department without proper access to inpatient tools and services like physiotherapy and occupational therapy can contribute to a decline in their health, as social disconnection and discomfort can lead to cognitive and physical decline. That’s why access to these items benefits patients and the overall health system.
A kind gesture
Marcia Kehoe is a registered nurse and QEII Emergency and Trauma Centre clinical lead. Her job is to manage patient flow, working closely with nurses, physicians and paramedics to ensure patients get the best possible treatment in a timely manner.
“Every day, I see how small comforts can completely change a patient’s experience. It helps them feel more connected and cared for,” she says.
“Comfort items offer compassion to patients and help them feel less isolated. Letting them know we have their comfort in mind, along with their care, has a tremendous impact on people.”
And thanks to the generosity of QEII Foundation donors, healthcare providers like Marcia now have more resources to offer patients.