Hospital auxiliary makes final payment on long-term care beds, thanks to community support

The St. Joseph’s Healthcare Auxiliary is well known for its diligent efforts to fundraise for much-needed medical equipment at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

And now they have paid down their latest ambitious project.

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Auxiliary treasurer Darla Wilhelm and president Marlene Shurygalo presented a cheque for $85,057.20 to St. Joseph’s Hospital board chair Don Kindopp and chief executive officer Greg Hoffort on Friday afternoon at the hospital.

With the payment, the hospital auxiliary has now paid off the 38 beds that it purchased for the hospital’s long-term care ward in 2019. The beds had a total cost of more than $255,000, but thanks to the support of the community, the auxiliary was able to pay for the beds in two years – an impressive feat for the volunteer organization.

Even more impressive is they were able to do it in the midst of a pandemic, which forced the cancellation of the auxiliary’s annual spring and Christmas tea and bake sales in 2020.

Wilhelm said they were able to pay for the beds so quickly due to some donations that have come in.

“The community has been very generous in supporting us. With the ticket sales we had with the raffle we had last year during COVID, we did very well with that,” said Wilhelm. “That was our main thing.”

The auxiliary also received allocations as a member agency for the United Way Estevan.

Kindopp said these beds create more comfort for residents. Bed sores are a common occurrence in long-term care facilities, but with these new beds, that issue is greatly reduced.

“It enables the workers to be more efficient and to work with the patient easier, because of the design of the beds,” said Kindopp.

The previous beds dated back to when the hospital opened nearly 30 years ago.

A decision hasn’t been made on the auxiliary’s next project for the hospital.

“We’re looking forward to taking on another project,” said Wilhelm.

Next week’s edition of the Mercury will have more on this story.

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