Improving kidney care and cardiac units are priorities of the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation (GPRHF).

The foundation gave an update to city council on its efforts to improve regional health care at the Feb. 12 council meeting. 

“Northern doctors have identified, as a large concern, a fully functioning cardiac care unit, which we currently do not have,” said Keith Curtis, GPRHF executive director.

“That includes a catheterization lab in the north and advocating for all of that. “

Curtis says the foundation has already attracted numerous donors and now it’s a matter of advocating to local MLAs and Alberta Health Services (AHS).

“Council (has) heard on a regular basis about the needs for cardiac support and facilities in the regional hospital; right now, if you were to go get a stint in one of your arteries, we can’t do that in Grande Prairie,” said Mayor Jackie Clayton. 

She said the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital should have the ability to provide better cardiac care as the closest spot to provide that care is in Edmonton. 

“Considering the population that we serve through health care services, I would be confident to say that council will adopt this as a priority,“ she said.

Curtis said he had a friend who needed catheterization (stint) and needed to be airlifted to Edmonton, which ended up being about a five-hour process. 

He said if a catheterization unit were in Grande Prairie, his friend would have been in a stable condition much quicker.

“We identified it long before that it is something our region needs and deserves.”

A report on catheterization is coming from the foundation after the board approves it, which is expected in April. 

Subhed: Kidney care

The kidney care centre, located at the former QEII hospital, is moving forward with a $1.5 million investment from the foundation. A MOU has been signed with AHS which will expand services, said Curtis. 

Still, he says it’s a temporary five to eight-year solution.

“There is a larger population that needs dialysis locally than what we can currently do,” said Curtis.

He said there are five dialysis chairs with one commonly out of service; the service is offered in two shifts five days a week. 

With the new funding, the hope is to have eight chairs and run three shifts seven days a week.

“It is a temporary solution we realized but it was either wait eight years for full-out or move forward with this.”

Additional advocacy efforts of the foundation include a robotic surgical suite/service and a women’s health clinic.

“One of the main areas that we need to continue to work on is regional, provincial and federal partnerships with other foundations in order to ensure that we bring the best healthcare to northern Alberta,” said Curtis.

GPRHF has purchased $2.7 million in equipment for the GPRH from January 2022 to December 2023. 

In December, it also approved $1.9 million to purchase 55 pieces of new equipment for the hospital. 

Additionally, $400,000 will go towards beautification around the GPRH to build out its courtyard.

GPRHF has also given about $40,000 in bursaries and scholarships.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 22, 2024 at 10:59

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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