Last year, dedicated donors gave generously to the Health Centre to support the best in patient care, the delivery of vital programs, and to ensure St. Joe’s could provide a range of essential services both within the Health Centre and out in the community. The funds raised through our Christmas appeal, together with a generous $30,000 donation from the Royal Canadian Legion Guelph Poppy Fund, went directly toward the purchase of vital patient lifts.

Specialized patient lifts are relied upon throughout the Health Centre but this first round of newly purchased lifts, 14 in total, are essential to residents in Long Term Care who often stay in bed for long periods of time. “Because regular movement helps to prevent bed sores and promotes healing, we want our residents to move as often and as much as is possible,” said Kathy Tschirhart, Vice President of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive. “Lifts help our residents to be moved more gently and steadily, reducing the stress and pain many experience during a transfer, and they help to ease some of the anxiety they have about moving too.”

As soon as the seven MaxiMove®, or sling lifts, and seven Sara® lifts, also known as sit-to-stand lifts, arrived at St. Joseph’s, staff went through in-depth training sessions. Samantha Smith, a Registered Nurse in Long Term Care shared: “We want to support residents in the most dignified way possible and at the same time be sure we’re reducing the risk of injury to ourselves too. We were eager to receive the training on these new lifts and to bring them into the units so we could support our patients in a whole new way.”

Jean, a resident in Long Term Care, was among the first to use one of the new, sit-to-stand Sara® lifts. Although she was nervous to go from sitting to standing – something she can no longer do on her own – St. Joseph’s staff, Samantha and Chantel, worked together to bring Jean to a standing position in a respectful and comfortable way. Being able to move with ease, having the confidence to stand, comfortably transitioning from lying down to sitting, or moving in and out of the bathtub safely – makes a tremendous difference to Jean’s health and quality of life.

Together, and backed by the support of our community, Samantha, Chantel and Jean achieved a tremendous milestone. Moving helped to enhance her physical healing, but Jean’s spirits were lifted too. Having these lifts have brought Jean and our other residents hope and security – two of the greatest gifts.