Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation promotes community through equipment purchases

            When Hugh Burton and his wife moved to Canmore more than two decades ago from Calgary, they didn’t imagine the small mountain town would be equipped with the healthcare services of a larger centre.

            “It never ever occurred to us that we could get any of these more specialized things in Canmore itself,” said Burton.

            Burton is one of the many Bow Valley locals who have benefitted from the Canmore General Hospital’s endoscopy and laparoscopy equipment, purchased with money from the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation. The equipment allows people to avoid longer drives to Calgary for routine checks, such as colonoscopies.

            “You just leave home five minutes before,” said Burton, who has received both an inguinal and umbilical hernia procedures at the hospital.

            Avoiding the drive to Calgary made the experience less stressful, said Burton. But walking into the Canmore General Hospital is more than just convenient for him; it’s also a different experience than a city hospital. In Canmore, many of the hospital’s staff are familiar faces for Burton – people he has known for years.

            “You walk into a large city, you’re just a name or a healthcare number,” he said.

            Eva Jankowski, head nurse at the Canmore General Hospital, hears positive feedback like Burton’s on a regular basis.

            While the CAHCF funds large equipment purchases, sometimes it’s the small details that improve the patient’s comfort, said Jankowski. The “bair hugger” patient warming system is one of those purchases. The bair hugger system attaches to a special paper-like gown which has warm air fed into it through hoses, increasing a patient’s body temperature while he or she is in the operating room, which has a cooler temperature.

           The bair hugger is a “really great way to regulate the patient’s body temperature. When a surgical patient hasn’t eaten, and they have an I.V. infusing, it’s common for patients to feel a decrease in their body temperature. The bair hugger helps alleviate this, improving the patient’s comfort level which may also decrease their anxiety or stress levels,” said Jankowski.

         When Burton was in the OR, using the heating system was one of the things he noticed.

        “Small things make the difference,” he said.  

        “We’re definitely concerned about the patient’s health status, but of course we’re also concerned about the patient’s well-being: emotionally, spiritually, mentally. All of these little comforts really help improve that aspect of patient care,” said Jankowski.

        For Jankowski and the other staff, equipment purchases, above and beyond what Alberta Health Services can provide the hospital, strike a balance between making a patient’s experience more comfortable and improving the efficiency and quality of care.

        With a new scope washing system recently purchased by the foundation, the hospital staff are “ahead of the curve” with technology that allows them to clean scopes more efficiently, leaving more time to care for patients, said Jankowski.

Canmore resident Hugh Burton has had two hernia procedures at the Canmore General Hospital, thanks to equipment purchases by the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation.

Eva Jankowski, the head nurse of surgical services at the Canmore General Hospital, says the CAHCF’s ongoing equipment purchases allow many patients to access care they’d otherwise have to travel to Calgary for.