Heartwarming and playful partnership for pediatric care at Kelowna General Hospital
KELOWNA, B.C., December 8, 2023 – Toys are synonymous with the holidays at this time of the year, but they also happen to be important to the Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) year-round, supporting both pediatric patients and their health care workers. And now, thanks to Stilhavn Real Estate Services, KGH has opened its very first Toy Havn – a centralized program within the hospital to house children’s toys, books, crafts, and more, allowing hospital staff access to these important tools in support of young patients.
“Over the past several years, the KGH Foundation has received requests from departments in the hospital for toys and sensory items for young patients,” says Allison Young, CEO of the KGH Foundation. “With so many requests, we thought it best to streamline the process and create a centralized program where department managers would have access to specific children’s items when they needed them.”
In the meantime, Stilhavn Real Estate Services reached out to the KGH Foundation to see how they could become involved to support health care, close to home. Stilhavn is a boutique real estate brokerage comprised of over 100 top-performing real estate agents throughout the Okanagan, across Vancouver and the North Shore as well as along the Sea-to-Sky Corridor in Squamish and Whistler.
“We are a community-minded organization and our Okanagan team of agents were looking for a way to support the hospital because it touches all of us, in so many different ways,” explains Christy LeGeyt, a local Kelowna agent from Stilhavn. “By supporting the establishment of the KGH Toy Havn, we know that we are making a difference in the lives and experiences of some of the hospital’s youngest patients.”
In 2021/22, over 2,300 children (age 17 and under) were treated in the KGH Emergency Department or admitted to the Pediatric Unit in the hospital for treatment with an average stay of five days. Access to a centralized, fully stocked toy space is therefore incredibly beneficial for all KGH departments and ancillary Interior Health facilities that serve this patient population, by helping provide age-appropriate supports and comforts, year-round.
“Toys, crafts, books and the like play a crucial role in the well-being of children undergoing treatment in the hospital,” says Jill Sinton, Director of Clinical Operations, KGH Emergency Department, Access & Efficiency. “Toys and games can provide a welcome distraction from potential stress and anxiety associated with medical tests and procedures and help to make an unfamiliar environment (the hospital) a little more friendly and welcoming – and a little less clinical and intimidating.”
For many children, the hospital might be ‘home’ for the holidays, or ‘home’ for a part of any given year. And while it isn’t the same as home for these young patients, the toys and games can help provide a sense of home and comfort for the time that they are in the hospital.
“The stuffed animals and other playthings are important relationship building tools,” says Nicole Hall, Central Functions Coordinator, KGH. “They can help support social interactions, either between a young patient and their health care team members, or between other patients in the hospital, easing feelings of loneliness and fostering a sense of community.”
“We are delighted to launch this initiative in support of some of our youngest patients and are grateful to Stilhavn Okanagan agents for aligning with our vision and supporting the KGH Toy Havn initiative for the foreseeable future,” says Allison.
The Okanagan Stilhavn REALTORS® have committed $100,000 to establish and support this new initiative, ensuring that the KGH Toy Havn is well-stocked with everything the hospital’s young patients might need. The KGH Toy Havn is located within the hospital and will collect and house an inventory of age-appropriate toys, games and crafts for distribution throughout the year as needed by hospital departments.
For more information about the KGH Foundation, please visit kghfoundation.com.
Since 1978, the KGH Foundation has worked with a generous community to raise funds to support world-class healthcare 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.