Health care needs help

By Willa Wick in Community, Health & Fitness

The Health Care Heros are gearing up for another productive campaign as the Radiothon enters its 11th annual fundraiser. The CKNX family of stations under the Blackburn name has always been supportive of the cause and host from both the am and fm dial.
As a result of the radio campaign the Louise Marshall Hospital in Mt. Forest exceeded the one million dollar mark last year. Almost every department in the hospital has benefitted and this year the focus is on the laboratory. Lab results support about 85% of doctors’ decisions for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Laboratory analyzers have about a 10 year life expectancy before they need to be updated and replaced. The current Chemistry analyzer is almost 15 years old and the hematology analyzer is going into its 10th year of use.
Two major analyzers were required for the Mt. Forest Laboratory, a Hematology Analyzer and a Chemistry Analyzer. The Hematology equipment does the complete blood cell count ( CBC) which includes white blood cells, red blood cells, hemoglobin and platelets. The White blood cell count is used to diagnose infections, leukemia and monitor if oncology treatments can proceed, red blood cells and hemoglobin counts diagnose anemia and blood loss and are used to determine if someone needs a blood transfusion and platelets counts (platelets are the first line of defense when you cut yourself to stop bleeding) are counted to determine if a platelet transfusion is required.
The Chemistry Analyzer provides approximately 35 different tests and is used for cardiac testing and determining liver and kidney functions. It also monitors blood sugar and tests for drug overdoses.
The lab performs hundreds of tests in a day so it’s imperative to have the latest technology with something fast and dependable for accuracy. With the newer analyzers there is greater ‘walk-away’ capability so a technologist, who is often working alone, may multi-task. Because of the cost of the equipment there is no back-up on site; therefore the instruments have to be accurate, reliable and rugged to withstand the constant daily use.
The Mount Forest and Palmerston laboratories are members of the IHLP (Inter Hospital Laboratory Partnership). This is a group of 12 hospitals with a goal to have identical analyzers in all 12 hospitals. The 12 hospitals in the partnership are: Hanover, Wingham, Seaforth, Clinton, Goderich, Exeter, St. Mary’s, Stratford, Fergus, Listowel, Mt. Forest and Palmerston.
With laboratory equipment being the same in all 12 hospitals there are many advantages – quick and easy cross referencing of results; compatible computer systems; immediate back-up if one machine breaks down; and because all staff receive the same training they are able to work at multiple sites with competency.
Another major incentive to having 12 labs with identical equipment is pricing. Representatives from each laboratory have input into requirements. A committee studies the analyzers available, and decides the best fit for all. Leverage for cost comes with “cheaper by the dozen”. The fact that all equipment is ordered at the same time and to be installed at the same time provides for excellent equipment at excellent costs.
The 12 Hematology Analyzers went live in July. The Chemical Analyzers will all be delivered in September and be in operation by January.
This new equipment can provide almost immediate results from the analyzer to the doctor which in turn adds comfort to the stress of chemo patients as results could be delivered to a waiting doctor in less than five minutes.
There are four lab technologists who cover the Mt. Forest Lab 24/7 and cross with Palmerston lab. For years the lab technologists had to adjust to each other’s equipment because the analyzers at Mount Forest and Palmerston were very different operationally. Now with the integrated system all laboratory analyzers will be the same.
The goal of the Mt. Forest radiothon campaign this year is to reach $115 thousand dollars – an attainable amount based on the increased pledges from previous years.
This is also an exciting time for another department at Louise Marshall Hospital. August 9th was a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the new Birthing Centre. The modern spacious rooms promote family centered care and will enhance patient experience. Both Mt. Forest and Palmerston have these new birthing rooms which were funded in part by each hospital’s foundation through the efforts of previous Radiothons, but the fundraising efforts of the community helped to make it a reality.
About 25 students from St. Mary’s Separate, and Egremont Community Schools participated in a Read-a-thon last January and gathered financial support through sponsorship. The Read-a-thon income went towards a $4500 Propaq LT, a vital signs monitor for newborns which monitors heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. It is specially designed to fit a new baby’s finger and arm. The corporate sponsor for the read-a-thon was Padfield Nelson Insurance Company.
Next to look forward to is an ERE (Emergency Room Expansion). During the announcement of the expansion the hospital volunteer base was complimented and acknowledged as being the heart and soul of the hospital.
At the Palmerston and District Hospital they’re anticipating another successful fundraiser. The Gala, held each spring, relies heavily on the business communities of Minto and Mapleton while the Radiothon is geared more towards individual pledges and challenges. Both campaigns are necessary to successfully reach the goal of providing the equipment needed by the doctors and staff at the Palmerston and District Hospital.
The hospital foundation will hold a fundraiser for whatever equipment staff need to do their job well. Senior staff at the hospital have a five year plan for equipment purchases and replacements. At the beginning of each calendar year, the foundation receives the list of the highest priority equipment needs of the hospital. From this, the foundation moves into planning mode.
The Radiothon goal is $100,000 this year. An advance campaign will begin soon whereby pledge forms will be sent to former contributors. As a result, a good portion of donations are received ahead of the October Radiothon.
Two of the instruments required this year are a Transport Monitor and a Transport Ventilator. The Transport Monitor accompanies the patient and monitors vital signs while being transported from Palmerston to another hospital site. The Transport Ventilator is used in case of breathing difficulty enroute to another hospital. As a small centre the Palmerston and District Hospital assesses incoming patients and recommends admission or transfer. Although there is a monitor/ventilator currently in use, it has surpassed its life expectancy and needs to be replaced to keep abreast of new technology.
The other piece of equipment for which the radiothon will assist in funding is a Colonoscope for the Operating Room. Basically it’s a tube with lighted camera used as part of cancer screening for families. This is a petite scope used where comfort of smaller patients and pediatrics is important.
The CKNX broadcasted Radiothon will be taking place Saturday, October 20th. Listen, and do your part.

 

Lab Manager Brenda Holliday (right) and Technician Laura Fleischauer are happy with “Ruby” the new Hematology Analyzer at the Mount Forest hospital.

Lab Manager Brenda Holliday (right) and Technician Laura Fleischauer are happy with “Ruby” the new Hematology Analyzer at the Mount Forest hospital.