Following the success of its You Are Vital campaign for decision-making equipment at Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals, the Victoria Hospitals Foundation launches today a companion campaign, You Are Vital: Pediatrics. The new campaign aims to raise $1.8 million to address the critical need to fund 40 new monitors for life-saving neonatal and pediatric care at Victoria General Hospital.

“We want our children home and healthy. When that’s not possible, and when they need expert medical attention, we want them close, on Vancouver Island, surrounded by their support network,” says Victoria Hospitals Foundation Board Chair, Steve McKerrell. “We are asking our community to help ensure our pediatric caregivers have the best possible tools so that our littlest and most fragile patients can continue to receive exceptional care, here at home. Our NICU and PICU need new patient monitors.”

At the forefront of newborn and child care, Victoria General Hospital is the referral centre for maternity and pediatrics on the Island, and accepts transfers from within the province. Host to one of BC’s four high-level Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) for critically ill newborns, and one of its two Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) for critically ill children aged 0-17, the teams care for young patients who may require life-support, special medications and one-to-one observation.

“Vancouver Island’s pediatric population is growing,” says Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Medical Director, Dr. Amanda Barclay. “We are proud to say that the majority of children are cared for here.”

98% of pediatric cases on Vancouver Island can be treated at Victoria General Hospital. Here, more than 3,000 babies are born and 2,000 pediatric patients are cared for every year. One in six newborns will spend time in the NICU, and one in eight children will require care in the PICU.

You Are Vital: Pediatrics will equip the NICU and PICU with 36 patient monitors that monitor vital signs at the crib, bassinet or bedside, and 4 central monitors that give care teams a consolidated, centralized view of every patient’s current status. Patients in these units need continuous monitoring of vital signs, including heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.

“The new monitors are one of our most essential pieces of equipment — we simply can’t provide intensive care without them,” says Barclay.

The campaign will roll out over the next several months, with the release of patient and caregiver narratives to tell the story of pediatric excellence at Victoria General Hospital, and the importance of equipment in today’s healthcare.

The first story features little Eliza, whose unique auto-immune disease has left her in critical condition more than once. Over her seven years, she has spent much time in the PICU.

“The Victoria General Hospital PICU doesn’t get the credit it deserves. They work so hard,” says Stacey Wilkerson, Eliza’s mom. “Right now, they need your help to fund new patient monitors. It’s the equipment we associate most with her care and survival because it showed us how strong she was when fighting for her life.”

This is the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s largest Spring campaign to date and its first pediatrics-only campaign in five years. Contributions can be made by donating online at www.victoriahf.ca/vitalkids, calling 250-519-1750 or mailing to Wilson Block, 1952 Bay Street, Victoria BC, V8R 1J8.

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