And the Winner is…

ADVANCING CARDIAC CARE AT KGH

AND THE WINNER IS…

CICU staff at KGH celebrate the additional capacity to support patients.

In 2012, the KGH Foundation initiated what has become for many Interior Health staffers across the region, a primary reason to check their email every second Friday morning. Because that is when the winner of the KGH Foundation Interior Health Staff 50/50 Lotto is announced.

By all accounts, the bi-weekly staff lottery is truly a win-win. Its remarkable success over the years has helped fund services and equipment that serve tertiary programs benefitting patients across the Interior Health region. This includes $1 million to increase Kelowna General Hospital’s capacity to treat the region’s most acute cardiac patients. 

KGH Foundation Interior Health Staff 50/50 Lotto

The Staff 50/50 Lotto began back in 2012 with KGH staff and was expanded to include all Interior Health staff in 2020. By 2023 the lotto had 14,347 employees enrolled, helping to raise funds for projects across the Interior Health region.

It’s wonderful to know that participating in this lottery supports both patients and staff.

— Christina Brandy (Recent) Winner

THE LOTTERY HAS RAISED $11 MILLION SINCE INCEPTION

The KGH Foundation began its commitment to advancing cardiac services at KGH in 2013. The Be a Lifesaver campaign set an ambitious goal to raise $12 million to fund the new Interior Heart and Surgical Centre (IHSC) at KGH, which had begun construction the year prior. Though the provincial government provided the capital investment required for the building, the funds raised through campaign would see that it contained some of the most advanced equipment and surgical suites in the country. In September of 2015, the IHSC opened with six fully equipped, state-of-the-art cardiac intensive care rooms. 

At that time, the IHSC contained two additional rooms that were shelled in for future use, a common practice that involves constructing only the basic infrastructure of the room such as the walls, windows and doors. The room is then left empty and outfitted with equipment when the need for additional capacity arises. Two rooms were also shelled in during the reconfiguration of the Strathcona building in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). 

Going on nine years later, a growing and aging interior population meant that the urgency to outfit the shelled in rooms to serve the needs of the region’s heart patients was also growing rapidly. 

“To allow us to be responsive to the growing need for cardiac critical care, the time had definitely come to increase our capacity by outfitting these shelled in spaces,” says Robyn Goplen, Program Director for Interior Health’s Cardiac Services. “Finishing these spaces would significantly increase our cardiac surgery volumes as well as provide added capacity in the event of a critical care surge.” 

When Robyn approached the KGH Foundation with the $1 million proposal to operationalize the shelled in space in the IHSC and Strathcona buildings, utilizing the funds from the KGH Foundation IH Staff 50/50 Lotto were the perfect fit. KGH is the primary referral hospital serving our region’s most acute cardiac patients. At any given time, one in three beds at KGH is occupied by a patient from outside the Central Okanagan. 

At the beginning of November 2023, the two suites in the Strathcona CICU were equipped and began serving patients. Two additional shelled rooms that will be part of the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit (CSICU) in the IHSC will be operational by the spring of 2024. 

“This expansion represents a radical improvement in accessibility in cardiac care for our region’s patients, with capacity increasing by 67% from the original six rooms,” explains Lauren Garvie, Cardiac In-Patient and Critical Care Manager, KGH.

The increased capacity has already had a significant impact where it matters most – patient care. 

“I was flown in from Cranbrook Hospital while having a heart attack,” says one grateful patient. “Thank you to all the staff and nurses and doctors at KGH who looked after me in the CICU ward after. The care I received was top notch and without you I may not have survived.” 

Adds Lauren, “From myself and on behalf of the team that works 24/7 in the CICU, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the staff from across the IH region who participate in the lottery. You have allowed us to not only expand our capacity, but also to provide more efficient and patient-centered care.”

MANY HANDS MAKE FOR HEALTHY HEARTS 

Stride & Glide for KGH is a community event fundraiser that started in 2021. Participants and organizers head up to the Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club for a weekend in February to cross country ski and snowshoe in support of world-class health care, close to home. In its first three years, the event has raised more than $145,000 for stroke care and cardiac health at KGH. The event exemplifies the power of community support and what is possible when we work together. 

To learn more about starting your own fundraising event, visit: kghfoundation.com/events.

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