Above photo: Staff from Bella Coola General Hospital show off some of the new equipment they recently received thanks to a donation from the Keystone For Life Foundation.
Patients in Bella Coola recovering from surgery or involved in physiotherapy home exercise/treatment plans now have access to $10,000 worth of new equipment thanks to a generous donation from the Keystone of Life Foundation (KLF) to the hospital's Loan Equipment Program.
KLF is a Canadian charitable society that donates medical equipment to hospitals in outlying areas that are not served by well-funded foundations. It was started in 1973 by a group of Royal Arch Masons.
The hospital applied for a grant from KLF as the small, rural Central Coast community does not have a Red Cross equipment loan program. The items they received to help patients transition from hospital to home or on treatment plans include wheelchairs and specialized cushions, walkers and other gait aids, bed rails, raised toilet seats and commodes.
“The ability to loan much-needed physiotherapy and occupational therapy equipment allows patients in Bella Coola to maintain and increase their mobility after hospitalization or injury, and improves safety and quality of life," says Dolores Langford, Physiotherapy Practice Co-ordinator, Coastal Community of Care, who applied for the grant from KLF in April 2017.
Dolores, physiotherapist Freeman Qu, rehab assistant Bernice Lee, hospital manager Sharon Carroll, and the local maintenance staff (Carl Harestad, Ron Nygaard, and Steve Waugh) worked as a team to determine equipment needs, repair old equipment to ensure it is safe to use, adjust storage areas to house the new equipment, create inventory lists and maintenance schedules, and develop tracking methods to ensure equipment returns as scheduled for use by other community members.
Bella Coola has a higher percentage of lower income and under privileged people than many other B.C. communities, and the cost of equipment is prohibitive to many individuals who are living with disabilities on low incomes.
Without this kind of equipment, function can dramatically decrease, says Sharon.
“We are so grateful to the Keystone of Life Foundation for this equipment," says Sharon. “It will dramatically improve patient safety, reduce immobility and falls, and contribute to healthier outcomes and enhanced recovery."