From banging pots and pans to helping equip the new High Acuity Unit, our community’s and our VHF donor support was felt inside the hospital
Dr. Budlovsky: Early on it was it was pretty magical. It was tears every night for most of us. It was really quite overwhelming to feel the recognition from our community. It was not only just pots and pans at seven o’clock, but people would come by the hospitals every night and banged them outside of the ER and we would go out there, and there was a police parade there, a bagpipe marching band, delivery of meals that was all so incredibly moving. It really sustained us when we were feeling frightened and trying to anticipate what might happen. It showed us were all in this together. We feel appreciated and seeing our community members follow mask guidelines and seeing the rates of vaccination in our community rise, it all feels like a thank you as well.
It would be great if we could have a High Acuity Unit (HAU), a place for patients who are not well enough to be on a regular medical ward but are still getting checked on a number of times a day. During the pandemic in particular, the HAU is even more valuable because COVID can cause very low oxygen level (hypoxia). Early on, we were seeing people come in with oxygen levels extraordinarily low and saw that we needed to intubate or put people on ventilators. As time wore on and we had some experience and data to put behind our decision making, we realized that these people tended to do better with positive pressure ventilation or external mask ventilation as opposed to a tube and that is best managed in an HAU and the ICU because it’s so specialized and our caregivers have the right training there. The HAU allowed us to care for more critical patients with more space which was absolutely invaluable. It also doesn’t just focus on our need now, but will help us plan for potential need on a provincial basis as well. We’re so grateful for this new space and so proud of our community and the generosity of donors who made it possible.