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Family CARE Grants Fund Unique and Helpful Items at Hospital

Family CARE Grants Fund Unique and Helpful Items at Hospital  Lake Superior News

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO - February 25, 2019  (LSN) – For the 10th year in a row, staff at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre have been applying for grants for the ‘little things’ that can make a significant difference to patient care. Thanks to funding provided by donors to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, along with the Volunteer Association to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, this year $61,594 was provided to fund 43 Family CARE (Care Advancements Recommended by Employees) Grants.


Jean Bartkowiak, President & CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute congratulated employees for taking the time to apply for grants that improve the care that’s provided to patients. He said, “Our patients’ needs and expectations guide our Strategic priorities; they influence how we care for them. These grants strengthen our ability to put patients first. Thanks to our employees and their ideas on how to improve patient care, several pieces of equipment will be making their way onto our Hospital’s floors to enhance the care our teams provide.”

Barry Streib, Secretary and Chair, Governance for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, along with Cathy Britt, President, Volunteer Association to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre were excited to announce the grants once again this year. Each year they are thrilled to see what employees have suggested and are delighted to work with the grant committee to provide funding to as many areas of the Health Sciences Centre as possible. “We saw some really unique applications this year, for items that are going to make a genuine difference for patients,” said Britt. “We all know how important it is to have complex medical equipment like CT scanners and MRI machines, but these smaller items – such things like pocket talkers to amplify sounds and assist in communication – can make a huge impact on a patient’s care.”

Added Streib, “One of the grants we funded was something as simple as motion-activated bedside lights, which only turn on when a patient moves during the nighttime. These will allow for a more restful sleep as their room can stay dark, except when they need to get up and will help reduce fall risks because lights will go on when needed. I think this is a great example of what these grants are all about.”

In total 43 Family CARE grants, ranging from $86 to $4,495 were announced which will fund the purchase of equipment that will benefit patients across the Health Sciences Centre. Some of the items making a difference in 2019, thanks to the 2018 grants, include:

  • New secure, higher toilet seats, fold-up wheeled walkers and portable weight scales for the Emergency Department
  • New bedside curtains that will provide better patient privacy in the Surgical Daycare area, along with new overbed tables
  • New sleeper chairs available for care partners visiting loved ones in Inpatient Unit 3A and in Palliative Care
  • A new ‘Flashpak’ for the Operating Room for emergency sterilization. Normally sterilization takes two hours but in this process it can be done in as little as 10 minutes
  • A vein finder for Inpatient Unit 2B that will allow nurses to see veins in real time, making it easier to start IVs
  • Inflatable bed shampoo basins for the Critical Care Unit to help make hair washing more comfortable
  • Crib mobiles and toys, along with toy cars and arts & craft supplies for our youngest patients in the Paediatric Department

As always with a multitude of grants funded, there are inevitably a few that stand out to the committee. One of which was a patient controlled analgesia pump for palliative patients. Karen Roberts, Manager of Cancer Care Nursing Services explained, “Pain and symptom management using a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) pump is common practice for patients with end stage diseases where adequate control of symptoms has not been achieved by other means. Having access to a PCA pump in the hospital will allow the nursing staff to initiate the prescribed pain management regimen while waiting for a rental pump to arrive. The patients who require the use of a PCA pump are those with the most difficult symptoms to manage, so we are very grateful to the generous donors to the foundation for providing the opportunity for our palliative care team to purchase this pump to help ease the suffering and anxiety for patients, families and staff.”  

Also standing out to the grant committee was the request for a washer and dryer in the Adult Mental Health Department. Acting Manager, Joelle Macey explained. “Our current residential appliances were, unfortunately, unable to meet the demands on our unit. This washer and dryer became essential to our unit because they support our patients’ independence and promote life skills. In addition, having these available to our patients takes the pressure off of families and caregivers who may already be overwhelmed while their loved one is in hospital. Also, a large percentage of our patients don't have the resources, whether this is money or friends and family to help out; therefore, we rely on a functioning washer and dryer. So on behalf of the Adult Mental Health Services, we are extremely appreciative and grateful for this grant.”

A full list of all 2018 grants can be found online at



Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre   Lake Superior News Healthy Together
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, a 375-bed academic specialized acute care facility, is a national leader in Patient and Family Centred Care. As the only tertiary care provider in Northwestern Ontario, we provide comprehensive services to a population of over 250,000 residents in a region the size of France.
Effectively addressing the health care needs of patients and families has earned us both Innovation Awards and Leading Practice Designations.
As an academic health sciences centre, we teach the next generation of health care providers and advance medical research. Patients benefit from interprofessional teams of dedicated health care providers and access to leading-edge medical technology and clinical trials.


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