Health-care workers have been at the forefront of patient care since the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in our city and province. To show gratitude and acknowledge those who have sacrificed so much, the Health Sciences Centre Foundation has created a special fund that supports front-line workers and their patients.
The HSC Foundation COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund was established in March 2020 and continues to evolve in response to changing needs.
I became aware of the fund when my nephew, Randall Hofley, who is from Winnipeg but now lives and practises law in Ottawa, made a contribution and invited family members to help reach a goal he had set in the Hofley-Minkus family name. His invitation to participate included a link to the donation website, so I decided to check it out.
I listened to an interview with Jonathon Lyon, president and CEO of the HSC Foundation, and learned that the fund initially provided patients in intensive care with iPads so they could connect with loved ones, and that telephones and televisions were also provided to patients in hospital wards.
Since patients could not have visitors, they could talk to their families on the phone, and the televisions helped them pass the time, allowing front-line workers to focus on their care.
Information provided by Natasha Havrilenko, HSC Foundation’s marketing and communications officer, indicates the fund has provided complimentary phone, television and video chat services for patients at more than 500 beds and these technologies will continue to be funded for at least the next four months.
The fund also provides support for front-line workers through its “feeding the front-lines” initiative, which provides complimentary meals to frontline health care workers at HSC.
As the pandemic unfolds and needs change, the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund has purchased a wide range of equipment to fill various needs. For example, equipment for patient care includes 35 high-flow nasal cannula machines (which deliver oxygen) to keep people off ventilators for as long as possible. Equipment to support HSC’s virtual COVID-19 outpatient program for people recovering at home was also purchased and includes tablets, thermometers and oximeters (which measure oxygen levels).
The foundation wants the fund to be available for the duration of the pandemic so it will continue to raise money to meet emerging needs. For instance, three portable ventilators are required when transporting patients and at bedsides outside the intensive care unit.
Manitobans are known for their generosity and the foundation is asking all who are able to step up and make a donation to the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund, according to their means. Any amount will be appreciated, and those who make a donation of at least $15 will be provided with a tax receipt.
To find out more or to make a contribution, visit www.hscfoundation.mb.ca or call 1-204-515-5612.