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Donations during the pandemic made a difference in care at County’s hospital

Pictured at QHC PECMH on June 25 from left: Stacey Daub, president and CEO of Quinte Health Care; Cheryl Minaker, RN and team leader for the QHC PECMH Emergency Department; Shelley Egan-Jones from Patient Registration; Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation; Barbara McConnell, chairperson of the PECMH Foundation; Lisa Mowbray, patient services manager and site lead for QHC PECMH and Jessie Armstrong, RN in the ER.

In a word, “extraordinary!”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation (PECMHF) has focused much of its efforts on supporting the hospital’s medical teams in its preparedness in the fight against COVID-19.

Donors have been at the centre of that effort. Their gifts came in online and by mail. They sent messages of care to our frontline teams. They found ways to lighten community spirit by holding virtual and safe distancing events benefiting the hospital.

Thanks to the outpouring of support from these 117 donors, PECMHF raised $153,213.58 in COVID-19 relief donations for Quinte Health Care Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital (QHC PECMH) and the Quinte region.

Last Friday, PECMHF recognized the generosity of the PEC community by celebrating the COVID-19 Relief funds that have been transferred to QHC.

As COVID-19 donations came in, they were put to work quickly by helping to fast track the purchase of almost 30 medical devices that helped the staff cope with the impact of the virus. A new crash cart was needed for transporting and dispensing medication and equipment in the emergency department. Six medical reclining chairs and new commode chairs were added to the fleet on the inpatient unit thus reducing the risk of spreading infection. Four new vital signs monitors, and essential high oxygen masks were also purchased to improve care during these challenging times.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed how we practice medicine in the emergency room,” said Dr. Sarah LeBlanc, PECMH Medical Lead. “One of the many aspects of care that has changed is how we deliver oxygen to patients, because many of our previous masks and machines generated aerosols that could spread COVID-19 throughout our department. The purchase of Hi-Ox masks with viral filters allows us to provide patients with the oxygen they need, while keeping all of the other patients and staff in the department safe from the risk of spreading COVID-19. Thank you to the donors and to PECMH Foundation for your generous and practical purchases that allow us to provide safe care,”

Donors also helped to facilitate the purchase of a portable ultrasound machine. Physicians can now easily perform ultrasound scans quickly and efficiently at the bedside. The glass touch control panel is intuitive to use and button-free, which allows for easy cleaning.

“Having a portable ultrasound machine allows us to literally look into the body to sway our decision making and inform us of critical findings that cannot be missed,” said Dr. Josh Colby. “For example, on one occasion a young woman came in early one morning with abdominal pain and a positive pregnancy. The bedside ultrasound allowed us to see that there was fluid in the abdomen alerting us to a likely ruptured ectopic pregnancy. When this was communicated to the obstetrician on call, the patient was accepted for transfer immediately, and an ambulance was called directly. By the time the patient arrived in Belleville, she had become quite ill and was taken directly to the operating room where the bleeding was managed. Without the use of the bedside ultrasound, this patient may have died awaiting a formal ultrasound.”

Ensuring QHC PECMH has the necessary equipment to provide the best health care possible in the community is the top priority, said Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation.

“We are grateful to all of our longstanding donors and the complement of new donors who stepped forward to help. Whether the gifts you brought were monetary or not, you proved just what a philanthropic community Prince Edward County is. We remain humbled by this generosity and the influence our donors have on the safe delivery of health care services across the region.”

Patients and services at all four Quinte Health Care (QHC) hospitals, including Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital (PECMH) have been affected due, in part, to indirect effects of the pandemic.

Inpatient numbers are extremely high, there is delayed access to primary care, delays in surgical procedures, reduced community and family supports, and delays in accessing long-term care.

Many of the services that help patients remain in the community or return home after a hospital visit have also been disrupted. That means a longer hospital stay – most commonly impacting the elderly in the community.

Stacey Daub, QHC’s president and CEO stated is grateful to the PECMH Foundation and the donors in this community for their substantial support.

“These funds are supporting our teams as we continue to provide exceptional care every day at QHC, and have gone a long way to help protect the community, patients, families, visitors and staff. Donors are, and will continue to be, an integral part of providing exceptional care in Prince Edward County and beyond.”

PECMHF and QHC are working together, with a shared goal of providing better, more coordinated care, locally and across the region. Of the $153,213.58 raised, $23,317.47 was used to assist with an upgrade to the cardiac monitoring software that was needed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at QHC Belleville General Hospital. Having this updated equipment in the ICU benefits all patients from across our region who require this type of specialized care.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital continues to serve the medical needs of our community and the greater Quinte region every day,” said Barbara McConnell, chairperson of the PECMH Foundation. “Over the past year I have been deeply moved by the way the people of the County have donated to a pandemic fund intended for use anywhere QHC felt was the greatest need. I think we can say that fund has made a positive difference. What’s more, gifts went beyond financial. We received donations of food and personal protective equipment for our hard working hospital staff including the production of homemade masks, gowns, caps and headbands. This is truly an example of a community paying it forward.”

Daub says she is inspired every day by the dedication of physicians, health care providers and all hospital workers as they continue to confront the COVID-19 pandemic head-on.

“We know these are extraordinary times that require extraordinary support. From managing evolving health care needs, to ensuring the proper equipment and training is available for the staff, we know these COVID funds have had a positive impact on our patients and caregivers as we continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic.”


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