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Celebrating the successful campaign to raise funds for a High Acuity Unit (HAU) at Royal Jubilee Hospital are (from left) Tom Siemens, board chair, Victoria Hospitals Foundation; Avery Brohman, executive director, Victoria Hospitals Foundation; Joe O’Rourke, vice president and general manager, Seaspan Victoria Shipyards; Heather-Ann Heyd, clinical nursing lead for the HAU; Carrie Homuth, manager for the HAU; Dr. Omar Ahmad, department head, critical care and emergency medicine for Island Health.SUPPLIED

Thanks to the generosity of more than 4,000 individual and corporate donors, it took just over a year for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation (VHF) to exceed its fundraising goal of $7-million to help build Vancouver Island’s first permanent High Acuity Unit (HAU) at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, B.C.

It’s Critical was the foundation’s COVID-19 response campaign. It equipped the hospital with an interim HAU to treat and care for COVID-19 and critical care patients as a much-needed addition to the existing unit the hospital operates, and will benefit the Greater Victoria community far into the future, says Avery Brohman, the foundation’s executive director.

“We need to expand critical care capacity in local hospitals now and support future community health-care needs,” she adds. “Our population is growing and aging and requires this investment to meet ever-increasing demand for critical care. This specialized unit will increase critical care by 73 per cent, and we have our community to thank for that.”

HAUs offer an intermediary level of care between intensive care and acute care for patients who are not quite ill enough for the ICU but still need specialized care and monitoring. They are also a vital resource to manage hospitalization surges due to influenza, a pandemic or a mass casualty event, says Ms. Brohman. The permanent HAU will increase critical care capacity and support patients recovering from surgery, trauma, severe respiratory distress or other serious medical conditions like COVID-19.

“Our donors defined a moment in a worldwide crisis by showing how much they value the care our local hospital teams offer, and we are tremendously grateful for their giving spirit and commitment,” says Ms. Brohman.

Major donations to the campaign included a $2.65-million gift from Seaspan Victoria Shipyards and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, a $1-million gift from a local grandmother, and $500,000 from the Wilson Lai Trust.

The foundation’s next campaign will be focused on supporting equipment needs for the Mental Health & Substance Use Services team at Royal Jubilee Hospital. The foundation will also continue to fundraise for the greatest equipment needs across all areas of care.

“It’s no secret COVID-19 has placed a significant stress on the system, and we will continue to work with our generous community to rebuild what was affected,” Ms. Brohman reflects.

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Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications with The Association of Fundraising Professionals Canada. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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