Royal Jubilee Hospital is significantly closer to building a new critical care unit thanks to a $2.65 million-dollar donation from Seaspan Victoria Shipyards and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.
The Victoria Hospitals Foundation launched its Its Critical campaign in April with the goal of opening a permanent high acuity unit (HAU) at Royal Jubilee Hospital that will increase its critical care capacity by 73 per cent. With this most recent donation, the foundation is now only $2.4 million shy of its $7 million fundraising goal.
HAUs are a type of critical care unit that treats patients who have conditions that are too serious for acute care, but not serious enough for the intensive care unit.
It could be for “patients who have had advanced surgical procedures, who have suffered from trauma, or cancer patients,” said Dr. Omar Ahmad, department head of emergency and critical care medicine for Island Health.
He explained that the unit will be vital when there are surges in hospitalization from possible mass casualty events, pandemics or as the Island population grows and ages. The campaign was launched in response to COVID-19, but was a long time coming.
“When we heard that Vancouver Island was the only health region in the province without this kind of unit we knew we had to act, especially considering the unprecedented impact COVID-19 is having in our communities,” said Joe O’Rourke, vice president and general manager of Seaspan Victoria Shipyards.
Alongside the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the donation represents the largest in critical care in Victoria in 20 years.
Victoria Hospitals Foundation couldn’t provide a timeline for the new unit’s completion, but executive director, Avery Brohman, said the sooner they reach their fundraising goal, the sooner it will be completed. She’s hopeful they’ll reach the $7 million in the next couple of months.
For now, an interim HAU unit has been established at RJH.