Hospital foundation makes playground dream a reality

Supporting Island Families -

Long hospital stays and frequent visits can be hard on children and their families.

Living with a chronic illness, disabilities or getting cancer treatment can make it even more essential for children to be able to enjoy the classic childhood ritual of playing on a slide or a swing.

The staff and volunteers of the QEH Foundation raised $50,000 – half of the $100,000 cost to build an accessible therapeutic playground in the courtyard of the hospital’s pediatrics department. A grant to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital from Government of Canada's Enabling Accessibility Fund, and a matching gift from TD Bank made up the rest.

“Seeing grateful patients is the best reward for the work we do,” said Tracey Comeau, CEO of the QEH Foundation, noting hospital auxiliary was an integral part of the fundraising process.

A well-equipped hospital serves all Islanders and helps us continue to administer care here at home, she said, adding that the IWK travelling clinic comes to PEI regularly, so children visiting the hospital for treatment through that clinic will benefit too.

Hospitals can be intimidating places for children. Having this playground to look forward to during visits and stays helps to ease some of the stress. The play space is safe for all children regardless of ability and cognitive development. It includes a wheelchair accessible swing, music and play panels.

One girl was admitted to hospital five times in May. Because of the fresh air and movement she got at the new playground she was discharged two days early.

“It’s because of the generosity of donors that we have this wonderful equipment. And it’s so inspiring to be about to share these stories with them,” Comeau said.

The Foundation’s next annual report, due in September, will feature quotes from young doctors who were swayed to start their medical careers here, in part, because of world-class equipment.

“We feel our work has an equipment indirect impact on recruitment and retention, it makes such a difference,” she said.

The hospital has ongoing annual medical equipment needs of almost $6 Million. And it’s in everyone’s best interest that our province’s main referral hospitals are the best they can be.

“Everybody uses the hospital. The (QEH) lab processes $2 million tests per year – so even if a person hasn’t been physically in the door chances are some part of them has been in.”

The QEH Foundation helps the Queen Elizabeth Hospital family provide the best healthcare possible to residents and visitors of Prince Edward Island through the purchase of much needed medical equipment. 

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