Gerry’s Blog

Sharing knowledge and getting healthier

For the last 2 plus years, we’ve hosted talks at Kings Riverside Court for residents and the broader community. It’s been an eye opening experience for me because I began to understand the depth and breadth of knowledge existing in our health community. Our Health Talks have featured doctors, nurses, and medical staff from all areas of the hospital and community. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and, I know, like me, the listeners learned about getting and staying healthy, whatever your age.

We have several talks planned and I invite you to join us for learning and socializing. You can check out our monthly talk topic on our website and/or through Facebook or call our office at 902-678-5414. Hope to see you at a future presentation.

Vaporization Device – Unique to VRH!

We’re always excited when we come to the end of a fundraising campaign because it means we’re able to give the go-ahead to that particular department in the hospital to purchase medical equipment to improve the services they offer to patients and clients.

There’s a little extra excitement this year because we’re purchasing a piece of state-of-the-art equipment that will be available ONLY at Valley Regional – no where else in Nova Scotia currently has this equipment. It’s called a vaporization device and it’s used to treat men suffering from benign enlarged prostates.

For 9 out of 10 men, the procedure using the new device will be as an outpatient compared to a stay of a few days using the current method. The surgery will be virtually bloodless as the plasma energy vaporizes tissue and coagulates blood vessels. The current method is messier and more uncomfortable with each patient requiring a catheter during their stay.

So, the new device will be gentler on the patient and save dollars in the health system. That’s a win-win in my book!

Supporting the mammography service

Spring is here so that means a new fundraising campaign for our Foundation. This one is very close to my heart and health because it involves replacing our aging mammography equipment.

We’ve learned regular screening is one of the best ways to detect breast cancer so that, if found, it can be treated early.With support from our donors, we’ll replace the xray unit as well as the reporting station with high resolution digital equipment that’s needed for detection of the tiniest mass.

We’re committed to paying 25% of the cost of the equipment ($65,000) with the Department of Health contributing the remaining 75% ($195,000). Every $1 donated means $3 towards the project!

Stayed tuned for information on our campaign in your mail box or through your social media.

Palliative care options

Palliative care is probably not something you think about unless or until you or a loved one needs this vital medical service. Dying is a natural part of life but facing end of life issues like pain management and comfort become even more critical when you’re in that situation.

The CAREY Me program offers financial assistance to palliative patients who have support to remain at home but face financial challenges if they choose be home. Clients are assessed by a palliative nurse or doctor to determine the assistance required. It might include oxygen or bed rental, dietary supplements or respite care.

Others may spend their final days in a hospital setting because they can’t remain at home. They may not have family to assist and/or their pain needs to be managed so they are more comfortable. A busy medical unit is not an ideal location to deliver palliative care however medical staff try to accommodate the patient’s and family’s wishes.

When the hospice is eventually built, it will provide a third option – end of life care in a comfortable home-like environment with the necessary medical and non-medical supports provided.

It will be a good day when more options are offered to patients and families facing end of life decisions.

Appreciating the small things…

It’s once again the time when we focus on our largest annual campaign, Festival of Lights. It’s been a main event for our Foundation for more than 20 years – incredible! Between the community gathering in the hospital for music and refreshments, our annual cake auction to our direct mail campaign, it’s a busy time for our office. But it’s not too busy to pause to appreciate the little things that make each day special. Here are a few things I have on my Appreciation List:

  • the hospital volunteers at the lobby reception desk who welcome people with smiles
  • the VRH Auxiliary and the many groups and foundations who support our efforts
  • the beautiful array of paintings displayed in the hospital by local Valley artists
  • the medical staff who assist us by offering their knowledge and expertise
  • our donors who drop in to say hello or to tell us how they appreciate the care they receive

There are many more things I could add but space is limited. I hope you find a few things to appreciate each day, particularly as we head into the busy holiday season. Take care!