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Author: Yolanda Brooks
A lot has changed since this black and white photo of student nurses was taken in the 1930s. The face of nursing has changed dramatically as healthcare and nursing have adapted to the times and growing needs and changing demographics of the North Shore community.
Nurses have been an integral part of healthcare on the North Shore, ever since our predecessor, the North Vancouver General Hospital, first opened its doors in 1929. In the early days of nursing, individual nurses took on many different roles and a nurse could find herself (and it was usually a she) working in the men’s ward or the maternity ward.
LGH has changed so much in the last century, and at the start of National Nursing Week, we’d like to take the chance to not only spotlight the importance of our nurses but also celebrate their contributions.
In Canada, National Nursing Week began in 1985 and it falls on the second week of May every year in honour of the nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, whose birthday fell on May 12th.
The theme for National Nursing Week 2022 is #WeAnswerTheCall to reflect nurses’ continued care, courage, and commitment to patients throughout the hardships of the ongoing pandemic.
Nursing at Lions Gate Hospital
Currently, 1,475 nurses work at LGH, The HOpe Centre and across the North Shore community. There are more than 20 nursing specialties available in Canada which range from cardiovascular, community health and gerontology to pediatric, pyschiatric and mental health to perioperative nursing. Nursing expertise at LGH recently expanded with the opening of the High Acuity Unit (HAU) last week with a team of specially trained high acuity nurses.
Congratulations to Dr. Anis Lakha, recipient of the 2021/2022 Clinical Practice Award.
Dr. Anis Lakha, a palliative care physician at LGH and North Shore Hospice, is the pioneer behind the Every Day Counts program. She had a vision to create a program that provides psychosocial supports for patients and their families during the most challenging time of their life.
She was instrumental in building the Every Day Counts program from scratch and she dedicated many hours to raise awareness within the community and ensure the success and longevity of the program. It has grown from a few sessions scattered across several locations on the North Shore to a central part of local palliative care services with its own facility right alongside the Hospice.
The Every Day Counts program provides a wide range of activities and assistance for patients living with life-limiting illness in their homes, in the community and at the hospice.
Dr. Lakha colleagues describe her as a compassionate advocate for patients and a champion of accessible palliative care for all who need it. Thanks to her extraordinary efforts, our community has the most comprehensive palliative care support services in the province.
Congratulations to Jane Jordan, this year’s recipient of the 2021/2022 Spirit of Philanthropy Award.
Jane Jordan, Coordinator of the Every Day Counts palliative care program, has devoted time, energy and financial support to the fundraising efforts of the Foundation.
Not only has she worked tirelessly with us to raise funds for Hospice & Palliative Care, she has given her time generously to support the wider mission of the Foundation.
As well as organizing popular local events such as Hike for Hospice, Honour a Life and the Hospice Easter Egg Hunt, she is a regular contributor to Foundation campaigns through the Employee Giving Program.
Whether it’s organizing a donor tour of North Shore Hospice, participating in promotional activities, or giving up her lunch time to support hospital events, Jane is an amazing ambassador for and supporter of LGH Foundation.
Watch Jane receive her award below.
Congratulations to Ruth Farnan, RN, recipient of the 2021 Dr. Les Janz Leadership Award.
Ruth, who is a Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) is described by her colleagues as “the unsung hero of the Emergency Department at LGH.”
Ruth, spent time at the Emergency Department at LGH when she was a student nurse and she knew she wanted to return once she had consolidated her skills and experience.
Before arriving in Emergency at LGH she spent two years in a High Acuity Unit and she has now spent a decade in various roles.
She took on the role of CNE in 2020, and focused her attention on strengthening orientation procedures, creating a more nurturing environment and increasing educational opportunities for staff.
Emergency departments are busy and chaotic and can be disorienting for new staff members. Ruth collaborated with her colleagues to create enhanced professional support systems, in-class orientation sessions and opportunities for clinical development to ensure that new recruits have a strong foundation for success.
Ruth has also worked to deepen departmental knowledge by increasing training opportunities, working with experts from other hospitals and expanded education programs in a number of areas including advanced life support, trauma care, emergency palliative care and mental health and substance use.
“What I like most about the team that I work with is that it really is like a family,” says Ruth. “It’s a very close team, and although Covid put a bit of a wrench in socializing, we are a team that works and plays together. We support one another not only during busy shifts, but also in all aspects of our lives.”
Learn more about Ruth and watch her receive her award below.
Congratulations to Cardiology Technologist Supervisor Cheryl West, recipient of the Workplace Inspiration Award.
Cheryl has worked in the cardiology department for an amazing 20 years. She’s unflappable, upbeat and accessible to all who need her help and expertize.
When the pandemic created supply chain issues she dedicated extra time to ensure that no one went short of the equipment and supplies they needed.
Technology is an important part of cardiac care but integrating new technology can be a time-consuming and frustrating process.
Cheryl was the driving force behind the introduction of a set of wireless ECG carts at the hospital. The innovative carts allow techs to carry out ECG tests while the cardiologist in different location look at the results in real time.
This was a huge change for the department that had been using decades old equipment and it was made possible by a long and complicated collaboration between Cardiology team and IT department. LGH was the first hospital in BC to introduce this technology and its successful implementation was assured by Cheryl’s hard work.
Cheryl’s energy and dedication is infectious and the team of confident and skilled technologists that she manages are inspired every day to lead by her example.
As her manager said: “Every department needs a Cheryl!”
Learn more about Cheryl and watch her get her award below.
The delivery of a very special care package* of panda stuffies to the Palliative Care Unit at LGH has had a significant impact on patients and their families.
Staff report that the pandas have become a comfort item to young visitors and have brought moments of joy during challenging and emotional times for the families under their care.
For a young grandfather, the bears provided positive new memories for his grandkids. When he was first admitted to the unit in December he was worried about being too sick to buy Christmas presents for his grandkids. Despite the fact that he was dealing with his acute symptoms, his family were foremost in his mind. When staff gave him two of the pandas, he was overjoyed and so thankful by this generosity. He was able to focus on his self care and he kept the pandas in his bed to pick up his scent before gifting them to his grandkids to remember him by.
When a shy eight-year-old boy arrived at the unit to visit his grandmother, staff were able to break the ice with the gift of a panda. They weren’t sure if he’d be too old for a stuffie but his face lit up and he hugged the panda bear tight when one was handed to him. The scared young boy was now smiling and happy to show grandma the bear he’d just received.
During the final months of a young woman’s life, her daughter was at her bedside every day. After spending so much time on the palliative unit, the daughter was not only distraught at her mother’s death, she found it difficult to say goodbye to the staff on the unit.
Staff gifted three panda bears to the grandkids who had also visited the unit. Now when the daughter watches her niece and nephews grow up, they have the same panda bear that will remind her of her mother, the palliative care team and this monumental moment that changed her life. The grandkids have a gift from grandma and the whole family have a shared symbol of love and loss.
On behalf of the Palliative Care Team at LGH we would like to thank Susan Hilton and the Har El Sisterhood from the Taylor Way Synagogue in West Vancouver for their thoughtful gift and generosity.
*The gift package also included child-friendly furniture from IKEA and activity packs for children who can spend many hours on the unit.
Patients with respiratory illnesses will be able to breathe a little easier as a direct result of the Gooding Family Foundation and their donation of two new Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) labs to Lions Gate Hospital.
These sophisticated pieces of equipment, which cost $150,000 per unit, enable physicians and respiratory therapists to gauge how well a person’s lungs are working.
PFTs measure key factors such as lung capacity as well as rates of oxygen flow and diffusion and are vital to help care teams support people dealing with a variety of chronic lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema, allergies, and respiratory infections such as pneumonia and COVID-19. Test results are often used to check lung function before surgery or to assess the effectiveness of treatments.
The equipment comes with a flexible 3D arm so that patients in wheelchairs can more easily be accommodated. Advanced visual software also makes analysis and diagnosis faster and more precise for the LGH respiratory team.
“These new labs are a big step forward because they allow us to get a more accurate picture of how our patients’ lungs are functioning,” says LGH Respiratory Therapist Christine Wong. “They also make it easier for the patient to go through the testing and can be far less distressing for people who can sometimes be anxious about the testing.”
The new PFT labs replace ageing models and their arrival is particularly timely as an increased number of LGH patients are suffering from long-term lung issues after contracting COVID-
David Gooding and Lisa Holden from the Gooding Family Foundation were recognized as one of our Philanthropists of the Year on National Philanthropy Day, 2021. Learn more about this year’s recipients here.
Goodwill, gratitude and generosity makes a difference to health care in our community and on National Philanthropy Day, which is celebrated on November 15, we shine a spotlight on some of our supporters whose donations, actions and thoughtful gestures are having a lasting impact .
Mehri Parsi– Volunteer
Mehri Parsi has been an outstanding volunteer and ambassador for the hospital and the Foundation for many years.
She first started working at LGH in 1968 when she was hired by food services. When she arrived she couldn’t speak a word of English but through her hard work and generosity of spirit, she has become one of the hospital’s most familiar faces and a friend to many.
She opened the first coffee bar in the LGH lobby 26 years ago and the coffee shop, known as Mehri’s cafe still operates in the same location today.
Merhri has been a constant and welcome presence as a volunteer at numerous Foundation fundraisers and she is one of our most effective 50/50 ticket sellers over the past few years.
Doris Guo – Student Philanthropist
Doris Guo is a grade 11 student who has dedicated her spare time to volunteering to support our community. In 2021 she organized two fundraisers with her friends and classmates in support of Lions Gate Hospital. Thanks to her outstanding leadership and passion Doris raised close to $9,000 in total. Doris always inspires and encourages her friends to get involved in volunteering activities and they have supported many of her fundraising endeavours.
Since the start of COVID-19 Pandemic, Doris has been volunteering as an English tutor for younger children at the Aurora Foundation. All the earnings from tutoring last year were donated to LGH Foundation. She is now planning her third fundraiser for the hospital during the coming Spring Break in March 2022.
Jonathan “Bear” Yeung– Community Organizer
Jonathan “Bear” Yeung has been a force for good at LGH since 2018. Three years ago, when just 8-years-old, he raised money to purchase NHL jerseys to cheer up young LGH patients recovering on the pediatric ward.
We were so impressed with his youthful enthusiasm, we invited him to be on the cover of our Well into the Future magazine to illustrate a story on the next generation of care coming to LGH. He took some persuading but we think he looked great in his borrowed scrubs.
Fast forward to March 2020. COVID had arrived on the North Shore and our frontline workers were facing the biggest health crisis in a generation. Knowing that staff were working in extra-challenging conditions, he used his money to purchase healthy snacks for staff who no longer had easy access to local cafes and restaurants.
He inspired family, friends, neighbours, community groups and fellow students to support the initiative and together tmade regular drop-offs of healthy snacks and drinks throughout 2020 and 2021. The snacks were delivered to grateful staff right across the LGH campus.
Bear’s support of LGH are just a snapshot of the philanthropic “missions” he has carried out over the past few years.
Orchid Club– Community Group
Orchid Club For Taiwanese Women On the North Shore made its first donation to the Foundation in 1991. Philanthropy is crucial to the group which has about 100 members, most of whom live on the North Shore.
They chose to support LGH due to its central role in the health of the community. They have been a major sponsor of the Community Cares Gala which has doubled the amount of money raised from the event over the course of just four years. They enthusiastic support and participation has played an important role in the growing success of the Gala.
The members are proud of their donations which have benefited a wide range of projects and patients over the years including North Shore Hospice, critical care equipment, the Paul Myers Tower, High Acuity Unit and the current campaign to bring a second MRI to LGH.
Gooding Family Foundation– Family Philanthropists
The Gooding Family has been supporting LGH since 2015. They have made significant donations to the Division of Neurology and the Simulation Centre which provides vital hands-on training for clinical staff.
During the COVID pandemic they have been one of the Hospital’s most steadfast supporters. Last year the Gooding Family Foundation donated through our COVID Emergency Response Fund to purchase 2,400 meals for staff. Not only did the initiative show appreciation to staff during the second and third waves of the pandemic, it was beneficial to local restaurants operating under pandemic restrictions.
The Foundation also fully funded two Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) Labs for respiratory services. The new PFT labs replaced aging models just as LGH saw an increase in the number of patients in our dealing with long-term lung issues as a result of contracting COVID-19.
Locher Evers International– Community Partners
Locher Evers International (LEI) is a family-run business that has been supporting LGH for almost two decades.
The international trade and logistics company has been the presenting sponsor of the LGH Foundation Golf Classic for 12 years. The event has raised more than $5 million to improve health care on the North Shore and this outstanding achievement would not have been possible without the long-term support of LEI.
The late Bruno Locher who founded LEI was one of the most committed supporters of the Golf Classic. He passed the torch on to his sons Chris and Greg Locher have continued his legacy of philanthropy to ensure the event continues to grow and prosper.
Despite the fact that the 2021 golf event had fewer attendees due to COVID restrictions, the event raised $305, 786, thanks in part to the contribution of our loyal sponsors including LEI who continued their support for the event.
OPEN TO NORTH SHORE STUDENTS GRADES 4-12
Enter to win the 2021 LGH Foundation Christmas Card Contest. The winner will receive a $100 gift card to spend at Park Royal and their winning design will go on sale at local retail outlets.
Entries must be bright, colourful, festive, and have a local theme. Whatever design you choose, it should measure 5″x7″ or 7″x5″.
All proceeds from the sale of the cards will go to support Lions Gate Hospital.
The spirit of three-time Olympic gold medallist Kathleen Heddle burns bright at Lions Gate Hospital.
The legendary rower, died earlier this year after a six-year battle with cancer. During her treatment, Kathleen spent many hours at LGH and she wanted to honour the boundless care and consideration she and her family received from her care team at the oncology clinic.
Kathleen Heddle wanted her gold medal to be an inspiration to all those who walked through the doors of Lions Gate Hospital in need of comfort and support.
Just ahead of the Tokyo Games, Kathleen’s family visited LGH to pay tribute to the staff as well as the patients receiving treatment.
Staff and physicians from the Oncology Unit were in attendance as the family presented the gold medal that she won at the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta. They also generously donated a watercolour of Kathleen in action with her rowing partner Marnie McBean.
(From left to right) Kathleen’s son Mac, daughter Lyndsey, Oncologist Dr. Sasha Smiljanic and husband Mike Bryden share memories and appreciation during the handover of her gold medal and painting.
“My wife always said that the staff who cared for her were some of her favourite people she ever met,” says Kathleen’s husband Mike Bryden. “She wanted the medal to be here at LGH as a way of saying thank you for all the amazing work your staff does for cancer patients.”
The medal and painting are now on display in the Oncology Unit for the remainder of the Games .
Heart-warming care. Ground-breaking facilities. Read about it