The Lions Gate Hospital Foundation (LGH) has reached its $100-million fundraising goal for a new state-of-the-art medical and surgical centre on the North Shore that should spell good news for patients in the Sea to Sky.
Earlier this month, the foundation announced it had hit its target after a “whirlwind” 23-month campaign. The new facility will replace the more than 50-year-old acute care tower at Lions Gate and, once built, will be “one of the most technologically advanced health care facilities in B.C.,” according to a release from LGH.
“What it’s going to do is dramatically improve the patient experience,” said Judy Savage, president and CEO of the LGH foundation. “By creating single-patient rooms, it’s going to enable people to recover in a more restorative environment. It’s going to be quieter, they’re going to be able to get the rest they need so they get better faster and get home faster.”
The new centre will feature 108 single-patient rooms with ensuite facilities; eight state-of-the-art operating rooms; a telehealth centre to connect healthcare professionals with patients remotely; a primary-care centre to give residents without a family doctor faster access to non-acute services; and a “therapeutically enhanced” environment to help reduce recovery times and improve visitor comfort.
The quicker turnover and remote telehealth capabilities should improve access to care for patients in the Sea to Sky, who often have to travel outside of the corridor for higher levels of care and specialized surgical procedures. For the 2018 fiscal year ending on March 31, Lion’s Gate Hospital has seen 1,151 patient visits from the Sea to Sky, and 2,178 in-patient admissions, including newborns.
“We work very closely with the Whistler clinic and we certainly do receive a lot of individuals who come down, not only from the clinic and out of country, but also people whose residence is in the Sea to Sky corridor,” said Karin Olsen, chief operating officer for Vancouver Coastal Health’s Coastal Community of Care. “As we build our new tower and integrate our community services into it, it’s going to serve the whole coastal region, but certainly the most benefit beyond the North Shore is going to be in the Sea to Sky corridor.”
The modern facility should also help to attract and retain top healthcare officials in an increasingly competitive sector, said developer Ryan Beedie, who serves as chair of the fundraising campaign.
“You want to attract and keep really talented physicians and nurses. You want to have that modern facility,” he said. “It’s going to have an impact all the way up the corridor, in Squamish—Squamish continues to grow—and this is going to serve the needs of growing communities.”
Beedie, who owns a second home in Whistler, was struck by just how quickly the ambitious fundraising target was met.
“It’s quite remarkable,” he said. “This all started with Paul Myers, who stepped in with a $25-million donation. The government has so many other priorities in terms of hospitals and we obviously have a huge need on the North Shore, but I think we felt a little left behind.”
The campaign received several major donations over the past two years, including Myers’, but Savage said every contribution from its more than 6,400 donors was appreciated.
“Typically the big donations get all the kudos, but I just wanted to say that those $25, $50, $100 donations, they all made a difference to this campaign.
“It’s truly a collective community effort … and when I say community, I mean the whole Sea to Sky corridor. You’re part of us, so we wrap our arms around your community too to say thank you ever so much.”
Work on the new facility is scheduled to begin in 2020, with completion slated for 2022.