2021 Report to Community

Responding in extraordinary times

As Nova Scotians and the rest of the world grappled with the swift and dramatic effects of COVID-19, everyone quickly realized who our essential workers and frontline heroes were. They kept grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies open, transported supplies, and provided vital services to those in need. Among those heavily relied upon were health care professionals and support staff.

“When the pandemic was declared the Foundation was anxious to do something,” says Executive Director, Michelle Ferris. “Although we were able to switch to remote work from the safety of home, our colleagues were holding the frontline at the hospital.” Nova Scotia Health staff began planning for the pandemic in January 2020 and continue to diligently manage the present while preparing for the future. As part of the planning, an equipment list was generated that would support COVID readiness for the initial crisis and future waves.

In June of 2020 the Foundation reviewed and rapidly approved more than
$300,000 in funding for equipment to provide additional COVID-preparedness for our community.

A Mask Fit Tester was among the equipment rapidly approved for funding in 2020. All staff must be tested annually to ensure proper sizing and seal for optimal protection. The Foundation funded an additional unit to deal with increased demand for testing.

Top photo: Health Services Managers pictured left to right: Hollie Cameron O’Laney, Aberdeen Hospital Emergency Department; Kerry Heather, Site Lead, Aberdeen and Sutherland Harris Hospitals; Katy Macdonald, Primary Care and Chronic Disease Management; and Debbie MacDonald, Palliative Care and Women & Children’s Health.

Your generosity is making a difference

Every donation to the Aberdeen Health Foundation helps to fund equipment and enhance health and wellness programs here in Pictou County.

This report highlights some of the many changes and initiatives made possible by your support this past year. Thank you for your ongoing generosity and contribution to our Foundation and the well-being of our community.

Consistent, reliable health care funding

Before, during, and after the COVID pandemic, this is your Health Foundation. It was created for you, your family, friends, and neighbours. It began over 30 years ago with a vision of making it easier to provide high quality health care in Pictou County.

As we washed our hands and “stayed the blazes home” in 2020, nothing was easy. We witnessed considerable bravery and kindness. Barriers to good health have never been more visible. Mental health is on everyone’s mind. The uncertainties and pressures on the people and systems providing health services are pronounced.

From medical equipment to community health programs, the Aberdeen Health Foundation is ready to provide support through this extraordinary time.  The Foundation understands its role as a consistent, reliable funding partner for health care. It’s what we’ve done for over three decades and will continue to do for generations to come.

To our generous donors, this dependable financial support starts with you. You are change makers for those who work in the health system and champions for those who rely on health care and community programs. With deepest gratitude, we share some of their stories in our Report to Community.

Robyn Eaton, Chair

Before, during, and after the COVID pandemic, this is your Health Foundation. It was created for you, your family, friends, and neighbours. It began over 30 years ago with a vision of making it easier to provide high quality health care in Pictou County.

As we washed our hands and “stayed the blazes home” in 2020, nothing was easy. We witnessed considerable bravery and kindness. Barriers to good health have never been more visible. Mental health is on everyone’s mind. The uncertainties and pressures on the people and systems providing health services are pronounced.

From medical equipment to community health programs, the Aberdeen Health Foundation is ready to provide support through this extraordinary time.  The Foundation understands its role as a consistent, reliable funding partner for health care. It’s what we’ve done for over three decades and will continue to do for generations to come.

To our generous donors, this dependable financial support starts with you. You are change makers for those who work in the health system and champions for those who rely on health care and community programs. With deepest gratitude, we share some of their stories in our Report to Community.

Robyn Eaton, Chair

2020 Board of Directors

Robyn Eaton, Chair
Hilary Amit, Past Chair
Susan MacConnell, Interim Vice Chair
Heidi Jamieson-Mills, Treasurer
Lisa MacDonald, Secretary
Jeffrey Burrows
Cheryl Fraser
Janice Fraser
Rae Gunn
Clinton Keay
Melissa Jackson
Heather MacDonald
Harry Munro
Sean Murray
Valerie Ryan
Dr. Chakshu Sharma
Frank Sobey
Marsha Sobey
Mark Wiseman

2020 was incredibly challenging ~ and inspiring

If you’ve ever been responsible for proofreading a large document, you may know the experience of no longer really seeing what you’re reading. That was the case as I breezed through this report one last time. And then, there it was. Right at the bottom of the financial commitments, $1,499,792.

Since joining the Foundation in 2018, there have been many times when I’ve appreciated the wisdom of the organization’s founders, but not as profoundly as in this moment. When I reflect on last year, and the challenges I’ve heard from leaders of other agencies – uncertain of their ability to raise dollars on par with the past, I am filled with gratitude for the Foundation’s strong, stable endowment. This continuous source of funding has allowed us to enhance health care in our community precisely when it was needed most. When I thought of that number in relation to the year that was 2020, my heart skipped a beat.

Michelle Ferris, Executive Director

1 Celebrating a critical team

In October, the Foundation was pleased to celebrate the commitment and dedication of Aberdeen Hospital’s Respiratory Therapists. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health care workers in all areas have faced extreme pressures, and the unique skills and abilities of our “RTs” have been invaluable during these challenging times. As key members on the frontline they are responsible for intubation, airway management, and support that can increase home care options for patients. Over the years the Foundation has provided funding to enhance the respiratory therapy program available to our community, from specialized equipment to advanced training and development for the team.
2 Partnering for resilience
The Mental Wellness Roundtable, initiated by the two Community Health Boards in Pictou County, brings local agencies working in the area of mental health together around one table. The vision is to work on a number of objectives including a collective approach to ensuring our communities have the right mix of services and supports to foster resilience. In February 2020, the Foundation was proud to be one of the funding partners for the launch of the initiative with a free public event with internationally recognized resilience researcher, Dr.Michael Ungar.
3 Growing women’s health
Our local Shoppers Drug Mart has been wonderfully supportive of women’s health, most recently funding an initiative to provide breast pumps to help moms with storing milk and continuing breastfeeding if they experience challenges. As well, toolkits are provided to assist health professionals in our community offer improved breastfeeding support to moms.
4 Supporting population health
The CAS Endowment is supporting a number of innovative programs, including Roots for Youth, “Riding for Wellness.” The program offers horseback riding lessons to young people, providing physical and mental health benefits that also improve quality of life.
5 Enhancing orthopedic services
Nova Scotia Health marked a major milestone in its plan to improve access and care for joint replacement patients with the opening of a new orthopedic assessment clinic in New Glasgow. The Foundation committed $100,000 for gym and clinical equipment integral to these services. Clinical equipment will furnish some of the exam rooms and the gym will be entirely furnished through Foundation funding. Kitchen equipment was also funded which will support the pre-habilitation programs.
6 Taking the Trampoline Challenge
Sophia Brooks MacDonald heard of the hard work and dedication of frontline hospital staff during the early stages of the pandemic and was inspired to help. She knew others had raised money through Trampoline Challenges and decided it was a perfect fit for her. Sophia took to her trampoline for 12 hours and donated the funds to the Foundation in support of health care workers.
7 Creating a culture of health
The Foundation is a funding partner in Uplift Pictou County, a school-based program that is re-imagining what health and well-being looks like in schools and communities. Through the initiative, students are leading projects and conversations about what kind of policy and changes are needed to help them make healthier choices. One example was the addition of outdoor furniture at GR Saunders.

Gratitude Garden

In the summer of 2020 the Foundation and Aberdeen Hospital Auxiliary partnered to create a Gratitude Garden as a way to recognize health care workers.

The community was invited to paint rocks with messages for hospital staff as a way to show support. The rock pictured above was painted by Elisa Rutledge.

We have a Virtual Gratitude Garden on our Facebook page, sharing photos of painted rocks with fun and encouraging messages, showing support and gratitude for hospital staff.

Click here to view our Virtual Gratitude Garden

An expression of gratitude

In 2019 Cathy Boswell slipped and took a tumble with severe consequences. Following exceptional experiences at the Aberdeen Hospital Emergency and Physiotherapy Departments she expressed her appreciation with a donation to the Foundation’s Gratitude Program.

During physiotherapy she met and worked exclusively with Kaitlyn Higgins, a recent graduate from Dalhousie University. “She was so attentive and thoughtful,” says Cathy. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the care.”

Good news stories are easily overlooked and the dedicated people at the heart of our health care system often go unnoticed. The Aberdeen Health Foundation Gratitude Program provides a way for patients and their families to recognize staff with a tribute gift that can be directed to a particular department or area of care.

aberdeenhealthfoundation.ca/gratitude

Invaluable therapy, care and support

“Music therapy rounded out the whole aspect of holistic care. Knowing that my time here on earth is limited, Kelsey helped us move forward, see what was behind us and look positively at what was ahead.”

Wayne Vacheresse wrote this about the Aberdeen Hospital Music Therapy program and therapist, Kelsey MacDonald. “She gave Virginia and I strength to do the legacy program and leave my loved ones a part of me that will always be with them.” Sadly, the world lost Wayne in 2020 after a courageous battle with ALS. As valuable aids in his difficult journey, he wrote that the health care system and teams were extremely helpful for his physical health; and music therapy was invaluable in all other areas of his well-being.

The Aberdeen Hospital Music Therapy program, funded in part by the Foundation, provides patients and their families with end of life care and support. Therapy can involve relaxation, evoking reminiscent conversation, anxiety reduction, and legacy projects.

Impacting health care with latest technology

When Foundation, Chair, Robyn Eaton co-signed a cheque to Nova Scotia Health in late 2020, she was visibly moved by the significance of the moment. She could see clearly how the vision of the Foundation’s founding members is being sustained and realized. The amount was close to $1.5 million. In that moment, she was struck by how donor generosity combined with decades of effective financial stewardship was directly impacting health care in the community.

The funding was used primarily for a new CT scanner for Aberdeen Hospital that was approved in 2019 and installed in 2020. The scanner is critical for accurately diagnosing what is happening inside the body and determining appropriate treatment.

“The scanner provides the most recent technology in CT scanning,” says David Quann, Director of Diagnostic Imaging for Nova Scotia Health, Northern Zone. “It’s faster and offers many more tools for the radiologists to use in diagnosis. Patients are exposed to less radiation, and faster scanning means a more comfortable procedure with shorter breath holds. This will make a real difference for radiology staff and patients alike.”

Thank you

for being there.

The Foundation would like to express profound gratitude to everyone who has worked tirelessly to provide essential services and keep life as normal as possible for the rest of us during these difficult times. You are truly the best.

Our 2020 Funding

Medical Equipment
COVID Support
Post Anesthesia Monitors, Ambulatory Infusions Pumps, Fit Tester $269,876
Women & Children’s
Fetal Monitor, Radiant Warmer, Antenatal Ultrasound & Incubator $157,151
Optical Coherence Tomography (Eye Clinic) $102,550
Cuddle Beds (Palliative Care Unit) $102,000
Surgical Skytron Bed (Operating Room) $73,913
Endoscopy Drying & Storage Cabinet $66,659
Ultrasound (Emergency Department) $58,000
Electrocardiograph Machines (Cardiology) $49,224
Medical Equipment (Various Depts) $310,883
Sub-total Medical Equipment $1,190,256
Population and Mental Health Programs $102,819
Music Therapy, Oncology Patient Fund & Other Health Programs $119,205
Medical Professional Recruitment $80,000
Continuing Education $7,512
Grand Total $1,499,792
Note: $310,825 of the above were funded
from prior year over accruals.

Everyone is welcome

Aberdeen Health Foundation Annual General Meeting

Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 6:30 pm
Due to public health social distancing restrictions and protocols this will be a virtual event.

Join us for “Lessons from COVID-19”

From caring for our region’s first COVID patients, to tackling the uneven impacts of the disease, we’ll explore how responsive innovation has served us and will continue to help us change health outcomes for the better.

Link to meeting: aberdeenhealthfoundation.ca/AGM2021

Michelle Ferris, Executive Director
Deelle Hines, Administrative Coordinator

Aberdeen Health Foundation
835 East River Road, New Glasgow NS B2H 3S6

902-752-7600 ext. 4600

Find these stories and other good news for health care in Pictou County at: aberdeenhealthfoundation.ca/report2021