It is perhaps fitting that in a year when many residents spoke up about the importance of having a full-service local hospital that the goal of this year’s Holiday Appeal is for the purchase of diagnostic equipment and to contribute towards the redevelopment of the diagnostic imaging department.
Just over 100 years ago — in 1917 — founding donor James Ross himself donated $2,550 so that the RMH could purchase an X-Ray machine — a machine that only larger hospitals in bigger towns and cities had access to at the time. It was pretty cutting edge stuff for such a small hospital.
Jump ahead 100 years, and our community, through the RMH Foundation, is carrying on that tradition started by James Ross.
As Erin Coons, executive director of the RMH Foundation, recently told The Lindsay Advocate, “The RMH Foundation is fortunate to have the support of generous donors throughout the City of Kawartha Lakes and beyond, who appreciate the ongoing equipment needs at the Hospital, and dedicate their year-end giving to support local patient care. This winter, ‘The Greatest Gifts’ Holiday Appeal will support the purchase of advanced X-ray equipment that will transform the way care is provided in the Diagnostic Imaging Department. At the Ross Memorial Hospital, we count donor support among our greatest gifts.”
To get some more details about exactly what our very important donations to the Holiday Appeal will achieve, The Lindsay Advocate spoke with Kim Coulter, coordinator of employee and community relations, Ross Memorial Hospital and RMH Foundation:
Hutchinson: What equipment will proceeds from the campaign contribute to? Does this new equipment replace older equipment, update it or supplement it?
Coulter: The hospital is currently redeveloping the Diagnostic Imaging department to accommodate the new technology and to enhance patient flow and accessibility. This includes turning four small X-ray rooms into three larger rooms, and expanding the mammography area to include an interview room. The former X-ray and mammography equipment had reached end-of-life. It is now being replaced with state-of-the-art technology.
The Holiday Appeal is focused on fundraising for enhancements to X-ray Room 2, including an X-ray/Fluoroscopy machine that is the first of its kind in Canada. This advanced technology features twin robotic arms that can move around the patient, significantly reducing the need to adjust patients’ bodies to achieve the best quality image. The team will be able to image patients lying, standing – even seated. This new technology also enables the potential future development of Interventional Radiology services at Ross Memorial. Interventional Radiology is a medical specialty that involves the use of imaging to guide a physician during diagnostic or therapeutic procedures such as needle biopsies and the insertion of catheters or PICC lines (peripherally inserted central catheter). Currently, patients who require this specialized care must be transferred outside the community.
Hutchinson: Are there any measurable/predicted outcomes in terms of wait times/access from the purchase of this equipment?
Coulter: The new technology, called the Multitom RAX (Robotic Advanced X-ray) is more versatile, enabling a wider variety of exams with a lower radiation dose. It also offers better image quality with less time required for patient adjustments and manual equipment manipulation. Those advantages, combined with the new layout of the space will improve the utilization of the rooms and the flow of patients.
Although we are going from four rooms to three, there is no expected increase to wait times as two of the new rooms are dual purpose (X-ray and Fluoroscopy) whereas before, each room only had one function.
It is important to note that the provincial government does not provide any funding for these type of purchases or upgrades, so as it has for the last 116 years it is the community that helps provide the best care possible through its donations.
The Foundation’s Holiday Appeal is mailed to every household in the City of Kawartha Lakes in late November/early December. This annual fundraiser is very important for the Hospital, as it raises between $175,000 and $200,000 for vital equipment needs each year. Adds Coulter, “City of Kawartha Lakes residents will be receiving their Holiday Appeal letter in the mail any day now. The letter is marked with the theme ‘The Greatest Gifts’ and shows the RMH Foundation logo.
For those who have questions about the appeal, the technology, or wish to ask about other fundraising projects, we’re always happy to answer questions in the Foundation office. Call 705-328-6146 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.