Local News / Community
Hospital's acute care patients get entertainment and a moral boost
The High River Hospital has unveiled the results of its latest fundraising campaign, getting 43 televisions into acute care patients' rooms. They raised $250,000 for the televisions and cable services for ten years. Glenn Woolgar from the Highwood Lions Club got the ball rolling after visiting a friend who didn't have a television in his room. The Hospital Auxiliary and the Rotary Club of High River stepped up to put the fund over the top. Roger Hamil of CDI International started a business challenge with the aim of raising enough for 15 units but far surpassed that bringing in enough to pay for 27. Nurse Clinician on the acute care medicine floor, Jeff Cowling says it's more than just entertainment. "It's been many years in the making, I think we've brought some attention over the five-plus years about the state of the entertainment here at the hospital. Our TVs were so old and archaic when they broke down there simply wasn't replacement parts," he says. "Through the work of the foundation, and lots and lots of fundraising we've managed to secure TVs for every room on this unit which in turn is going to lead to some entertainment for our patients, it's going to keep them connected with what's going on outside of these walls." Cowling says they didn't have this service during COVID and that meant people were cut off from family, friends and the outside world. "Here we are now, they're connected again," Cowling says, "They get some joy, they can watch the hockey games, they can watch the baseball game, it helps with their mental health and that positivist helps with their rehab and their overall wellness." Cathy Couey with the High River District Health Care Foundation says it brings a bit of normalcy into patients' lives, allowing them to watch programs they would watch at home. "Over this whole campaign, we heard so many stories of family members that had someone in a room that didn't have a TV and how long and hard the days were, so we're thrilled to see this come to light and to for us to bring these units to our patients." "It also provides some conversation about whatever you're watching whether it's the news, or a show or you can play along to Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy." The Foundation's Executive Director, Wendy Kennelly says the TVs are special in at least one respect, they can be cleaned and sanitized without damaging them. Dick Gabora was on hand to see the new televisions in action. He builds wooden patio furniture, and he gave some pieces to the Foundation to sell, and the money raised went to purchase TVs. Not all the sets are up and connected. The 19-inch sets that are attached to arms next to the bed are in, but the larger ones going on the wall need the walls to be reinforced and they have to work around patients to do that. In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, HighRiverOnline and OkotokOnline encourage you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the HighRiverOnline or OkotoksOnline app.