Holiday Giving to KGH Saves Lives

Donations fund critical patient transport program.

Kelowna, B.C., February 8, 2024 – The generosity of the community shone bright this holiday season with over $314,000 raised for the KGH Foundation’s 2023 Celebrate the Miracles campaign. The funds are welcome news for the community, especially for those who live in rural and remote areas of the Okanagan and southern interior region.

“Over 780 gifts were made by our generous community to the holiday campaign in support of Kelowna General Hospital and JoeAnna’s House. Every single gift—no matter the size—makes a difference,” states Allison Young, CEO of the KGH Foundation.

A portion of the funds raised has been earmarked to support the equipment needs of Interior Health’s High Acuity Response Team (HART), a dedicated group of critical care nurses and respiratory therapists trained specifically to support the transport of high acuity patients to Kelowna General Hospital (KGH).

Interior Health (IH) is unique from other provincial health regions such as Fraser Health or Coastal Health based on sheer size, a geographic area covering almost 216,000 square kilometers. It includes 16 community hospitals and two tertiary care (or referral) hospitals, including KGH.

When a person living in the more rural and remote communities requires specialized or advanced care, they must be transported to a tertiary hospital. Their care while in transport is supervised under the watchful eye of the HART clinicians.

“Each year over 1,500 regional patients are transferred by HART teams to specialized care, of which the majority of cases, approximately 750 per year, are transported to KGH,” states Brent Hobbs, HART Program Director. “That number is increasing every year. For example, we’ve seen a 20% increase in regional patients to the KGH Cardiac Catherization Lab over the past ten years, and we expect this number to continue to rise.”

“The value of the HART program cannot be overstated,” says Robyn Goplen, Program Director of Cardiac Services for IH. “Sometimes transport can take hours and it’s critical that these patients remain stable and under the care of the HART team should any emergency arise.”

Funds raised during the foundation’s seasonal campaign are being used to purchase vital medical equipment required for the specialized HART teams. This equipment includes a fluid warmer, blood analyzers, cardiac monitor/defibrillator and transport ventilators.

Members of the HART team with some of the life-saving medical equipment used during patient transport.

“This equipment literally helps keep people alive during transport and supports clear communication and faster diagnosis with emergency teams at KGH,” shares Hobbs. “Whether assisting with temperature regulation, allowing us to collect and analyze labs or providing safe mechanical ventilation during ambulance transport, these vital pieces of equipment enable the HART team to deliver high quality and safe critical care in the transport environment.”

“Our seasonal giving campaign is incredibly important because the funds we receive, for the most part, are undesignated – which means that we can use them to address pressing needs in our hospital and community health sites that might otherwise get overlooked,” explains Allison. “Donations to the KGH Foundation help support a variety critical advancements at Kelowna General Hospital and, increasingly, outside the hospital.” 

“We are grateful for donor support of the HART program,” notes Hobbs. “This program saves lives throughout our region, and it is only because donors make it possible.”

“The HART model has been recognized nationally and internationally as a best-practice in the delivery of rural critical care hospital transport,” adds Hobbs. “This is also in large part due to donor support. Thank you.”

“Whether supporting life-saving programs or regional families through JoeAnna’s House, the community’s generosity continues to make miracles happen,” says Young. “Thank you for your support throughout the year and over the 2023 holiday season. Giving changes everything.”

Since 1978, the KGH Foundation has worked with a generous community to raise funds to support world-class health care, close to home, for a rapidly expanding and diverse population in the interior of B.C.  Today, the KGH Foundation is the lead fundraising organization for Kelowna General Hospital and its associated facilities, JoeAnna’s House and Central Okanagan Hospice House.

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