Outpatient centre will make experience at St. Joseph's Hospital better

The Radiothon for Life is just weeks away and this year the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation's big fundraiser will be raising money for the all-new outpatient centre, which is set to open towards the end of 2021.

The new centre will include a variety of outpatient services in the areas of cardiology, women's health and more.

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"The outpatient centre is going to be located in what's the current Unit B at St. Joseph's Hospital. It's basically a centralized location for all or at least most of the outpatient services that our hospital is able to offer our community. So some of those services include women's health clinic, endoscopy procedures, stress testing, blood infusions. Basically, everything that would be a day worth of services that people come in and out of our hospital for. We wanted to really just have a proper department that could offer those in an organized manner," explained foundation executive director Breanne Van De Woestyne.

"We thought that this will be a great opportunity to develop this new department and to use a lot of the services that the hospital already offers, but also, it gives us an opportunity to have more services coming to Estevan in this new way."

Van De Woestyne noted that the hospital has a full-time obstetrician-gynecologist, and the new facility will open new opportunities for women's health needs.

"That's something that is new for our hospital, and that we're really excited to be able to offer on more of a full-time basis."

Moreover, the new outpatient centre will provide room for out-of-town specialists. This way, patients will be able to have their appointments closer to home instead of driving to Regina.

Once all the needed renovations and reorganizations are completed, the services will be moved to one centralized location.

"With the current pandemic, it really came up that having services away from the emergency department, for example, for outpatient services, is really important. So we just thought that this was a great opportunity to strengthen the services that the hospital has, but also to improve the overall layout of these services in one centralized location so that the experiences by patients and visitors are a lot better than it has been in past years."

The foundation has committed $124,000, which will cover the cost of new equipment, renovations and developing the current and existing services in that department.

The Radiothon for Life doesn't have a goal for its fundraising, and the foundation appreciates any support.

"We're excited for what we are able to raise. It's a community event and whether we raise the full amount, or half or even a quarter, we'll be very excited about it. This is more of a year-long project for us to help fund and something that we're going to be working towards whether we raise that amount through the Radiothon or not. But again, our community really does seem to come through for us when we are trying to support our hospital and local healthcare. And I see no difference this year," Van De Woestyne said.

The radiothon is set to take place May 26, live on Sun 102.3 FM, Rock 106 FM and CJ1150 AM. This year's fundraiser will feature the stories of staff and patients that utilize the many medical services at St. Joseph's Hospital right here at home with this year's theme, We are the Story.

Due to COVID-19, the event will not be held at St. Joseph's Hospital as in previous years. Instead, the foundation is strongly encouraging online donations through their website at www.radiothonforlife.com or by calling in during Radiothon. There will also be an outdoor drop-off area located at the radio station on event day for those that want to stop by with their donations in person. All COVID-19 guidelines and protocols will be in effect.

This year, the foundation will also be bringing back their online silent auction featuring local experiences, items and service packages. It will feature 20 different items from local businesses, which will be published on the radiothon website.

"We have a lot of different things that we can do this summer. We wanted to think of different family activities, outdoor activities and things like that so that people can really get excited about the summer. We try to feature different experiences right here at home. So we have days out at the beach at Boundary Dam, we've got staycations, backyard movie nights, backyard camp out, a tonne of family packages and outdoor toys and different things like that. It's something that really focuses on family time and experiences right here at home and it's there's something for everyone. So it'll be really exciting to see how it goes," Van De Woestyne said.

The auction launches on May 12 and will close on the day of Radiothon.

Also, there are several community fundraisers from by businesses in support of the Radiothon.

"This year, we really tried to reach out to a number of local businesses that have supported us in the past to have ways for people to donate towards Radiothon in everyday life," Van De Woestyne said.

People can support the Radiothon for Life when ordering particular items at the Black Grasshopper, A&W, Domino's Pizza and The Beef.

"It's a cool way to partner with some really great community leaders and local businesses to support the Radiothon. It's so far had a lot of traction, and it's just getting better and better."

The Radiothon for Life is an annual event hosted by St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the funding of medical equipment at the hospital.

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