Wednesday October 13, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC [Last update: 2:50 pm]
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends
The laboratory area located within the Child and Family Ambulatory Unit at Victoria General Hospital (VGH) has been transformed into a more inviting area for the children and babies who are served there, thanks to $150,000 in funding from the Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary. The announcement was made today by Island Health.
“We are so grateful for this wonderful gift to the thousands of Vancouver Island families who bring children for bloodwork and other lab procedures at VGH,” says Leah Hollins, Island Health board chair.
“This renovation will create a more soothing atmosphere for children who undergo procedures, sometimes travelling here on a regular basis,” said Hollins in a news release today.
The work for the renovation of the lab area began with discussions in 2019, and the actual work on site began in November 2020 during the pandemic, says Margot Hogg, VGH Auxiliary President.
The installations of various things such as new furniture throughout the area, lighting, cabinetry, privacy walls, and fresh paint, was completed in June of this year.
Mural & virtual reality:
A mural created by Victoria artist, Marcela Strasdas is a key feature of the new lab area. The mural depicts a Vancouver Island coastal scene that children are encouraged to look at closely to identify a variety of birds, whales and wildlife while they are having their procedures.
Strasdas — who is inspired as a painter by her loved of travel and gardening, inspired by the simple wonders of nature — donated her time to create the colourful mural; after her son received specialized and compassionate treatment at VGH several years go, she was also inspired to give back. The auxiliary paid for the printing and installation of the piece.
The Auxiliary has also purchased two sets of virtual reality goggles for young patients to wear as a way of distracting themselves as blood samples are taken.
The mural and virtual reality goggles together came to $7,185.46 ( $1,562.50 for the mural installation and $5,622.96 for the goggles) of the total project cost of $150,000.
“Many of the children who are cared for at Victoria General Hospital will visit the Child and Family Ambulatory Unit,” says Margot Hogg, VGH Auxiliary President.
The specialized bloodwork unit (also serving pregnant mothers and newborns, as well as adults being seen by specialized departments and programs within the hospital) is an extension of the hospital’s main lab area, explains Hogg.
The specialized unit had not been updated since the hospital first opened 37 years ago, says Hogg.
Most adults go to local LifeLabs facilities in their local communities, but the larger lab unit is available to the general public.
About VGH Auxiliary:
The VGH Auxiliary is a volunteer organization that fundraises for specialized needs within the hospital. During the course of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic they’ve lost about one-quarter of their members, leaving them with just 75 members now.
Most of the membership loss was due to the ages of the volunteers (most are seniors and elders); they could not or would not be active due to public health protocols during the pandemic.
A VGH Auxiliary membership drive is coming up soon, says Hogg.
Another version of the nature-mural (with a helicopter to be included in the image) will be included in the Auxiliary’s next project, which is to install that in the Emergency Room area near where children arrive by medical helicopter or helijet.
The Victoria General Hospital (VGH) is located in View Royal and primarily serves the Greater Victoria and south Vancouver Island area.
In addition to overall acute care and emergency room services, VGH provides a range of specialized services including heart health, eye health, home health monitoring, local prenatal classes, an MS clinic, neuroscience inpatient services, a pacemaker clinic, regional stroke program and stroke rapid assessment unit, and specialized units for children.
During the COVID pandemic the ICU areas have specialized COVID treatment areas.
Over 700 poinsettias sold to support VGH auxiliary (Dec 14, 2019)
Poinsettias on sale to help beautify blood lab for kids (Nov 7, 2019)