A $2.65-million donation announced Tuesday will help build a new “high acuity” unit at Royal Jubilee Hospital, designed for patients who require care that’s a step below intensive care.
The gift comes from Seaspan Victoria Shipyards and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, and is part of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s $7-million It’s Critical Campaign to expand capacity in critical care.
The new unit will be used by patients recovering from surgery, those with cancer and those with severe respiratory issues or serious medical conditions such as COVID-19, who now often go into intensive care when they might not need to.
Dr. Omar Ahmad, department head of emergency and critical-care medicine for Island Health, said the new permanent high-acuity unit will nearly double critical-care capacity at Royal Jubilee Hospital, and enable teams to respond more quickly to admission surges as a result of influenza season, COVID-19 or mass-casualty events.
High-acuity units also reduce pressure on emergency departments and ICUs.
Having a high-acuity unit will support the Island’s “ever-growing and aging population,” Ahmad said.
Vancouver Island has never had an HAU, so now is the time to act, “especially considering the unprecedented impact COVID-19 is having on our communities,” said Joe O’Rourke, vice-president and general manager of Seaspan Victoria Shipyards.
“Seaspan and our foundation believe that critically ill members of our community should have access to the critical care that they need,” said Kyle Washington, executive chairman of Seaspan ULC. His family’s foundation is the main philanthropic arm for the Washington companies.
The Tuesday donation is the largest capital investment in critical care for Victoria by a funding partner in 20 years, and brings the current fundraising campaign — the foundation’s largest in more than a decade — to more than 65 per cent completion.
For more on the It’s Critical Campaign, call 250-519-1750 or victoriahf.ca/critical.