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Investing in a Healthier Community

Investing in a Healthier Community

April 04, 2024

As we have all come to appreciate more than ever, especially through the COVID era, the hospital is truly an essential service — a place that sustains us during the toughest of times. Whether the crisis in question is global, local or deeply personal, the hospital has always been a pillar of the community. It is a place where profound moments happen — from the joyous beginning of a life to its inevitable end, and everything in between.

Since 1952, Burnaby Hospital has been an important resource for the people of Burnaby and East Vancouver. And now, we are in the midst of a crucial transformation. As many patients will tell you, the skill and devotion of Burnaby Hospital’s doctors, nurses and other staff are unparalleled. However, the facilities and equipment are lagging behind — it has been five decades since the last significant upgrade, leaving a community with a rapidly growing population serviced by an aging hospital.

Recently, that began to change with Burnaby Hospital’s redevelopment, supported by the Foundation’s Bright Future campaign — which is raising essential funds to support a truly life-changing project.

Leading the charge are passionate and generous donors, including the Beedie family. Well-known developer and philanthropist Keith Beedie and his wife Betty long ago established a legacy of giving back across BC, in particular Burnaby — the place their company and their family have long called home. In 2009, the Beedies were instrumental in helping fund the hospital’s first MRI. And since Keith’s passing in 2017, Betty and their son, current Beedie President & CEO, Ryan, have continued that legacy.

In 2020, the Beedies helped launch Phase One of the redevelopment with an $8 million donation. Set to complete in 2025, Phase One is in the process of expanding the hospital’s Emergency and Surgery services — while erecting a new, six-storey patient pavilion featuring over 80 single-patient rooms, a new Mental Health and Substance Use Unit, and a state-of-the-art Maternity Department, all with the goal to provide better patient care.

“To my family, philanthropy is legacy,” Ryan explains. “It is investing back in the community that has given us such incredible success over many years. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it feels really good and serves as an inspiration for our family going forward. To achieve a certain level of success means there is more you can do to contribute back to your community to make it stronger for all of us.”

The Beedies have good reason for choosing Burnaby Hospital as one of their key community investments. “Burnaby holds special meaning for our entire family,” says Ryan. “It was where my late father started his business, where I grew up and where my mother still resides. My father was extremely passionate about supporting Burnaby Hospital and if he were here today, I know he would be proud to see this project taking shape. As Burnaby continues to become home for more and more people, it is critical that we continue to support the pillars that make this community special. Burnaby Hospital is one of those vital pillars.”

As the redevelopment moves into Phase Two, our Bright Future campaign also evolves. The centrepiece of this phase is a 12-storey, 160-bed tower, bringing improved and additional services, including a BC Cancer Centre. This has inspired Betty and Ryan to pledge another $4 million in matching donations, hoping to motivate others to give back. With that in mind, we are proud to name the new facility the Keith & Betty Beedie Acute Care Tower. All told, Phase Two will focus on upgrading four key areas:

  • Intensive Care
  • Medical Imaging
  • Oncology
  • Cardiac Telemetry

Intensive Enhancements

Between 2021 and 2022 alone, the number of people entering Burnaby Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit doubled, requiring the sickest in our community to wait far too long for access to treatment. As Registered Nurse Danielle Frigo explains: “Because there are not enough ICU beds, we see people waiting in the ER on another floor — and not the place where they should be to get the care they need. With more people calling Burnaby home, the ICU needs more beds not only for us now, but for families in the future.” In addition to more beds, Phase Two will bring cutting-edge ventilators and other equipment to the ICU.

A Picture of Health

When it comes to Medical Imaging, over 10,000 Burnaby Hospital patients per year are scanned by devices that are, in some cases, 20 years old — forcing them to wait on results. Women in need of mammograms must travel to other facilities entirely, outside of Burnaby. Those issues will be remedied in Phase Two via new CT and X-ray equipment for the Emergency Department and a new Breast Imaging Centre, among other upgrades.

Comprehensive Cancer Care

A new In-Patient Oncology Unit will improve upon the current outpatient clinic by offering a more efficient and comfortable healthcare experience for patients, as opposed to being shuttled between floors and departments each night, after the outpatient facility closes. “Patients who require around- the-clock care will be able to receive the specialized care they need,” explains Registered Nurse Kay Unrau. “It will be a huge change for Burnaby Hospital.” Moreover, a new BC Cancer Centre added to the campus will include 54 ambulatory care rooms, 31 chemotherapy chairs, and clinical trials and research space.

The Heart of the Issue

In the existing Cardiac Telemetry Unit, dated technology places a burden on personnel and patients alike. Staff must set up equipment bedside to take readings and then shuttle that equipment to a separate location to document data. The new unit will have single-patient rooms and beds will be hardwired with the latest technology, allowing for better data capture and quicker access to results. “More beds with built-in cardiac telemetry equipment will make a real difference by letting us monitor heart conditions in real time,” says Clinical Supervisor Joyce Munroe. “And that’s a proactive approach when caring for our patients with serious cardiac conditions.”

Without a doubt, we are proud of these past seven decades serving the people of Burnaby and East Vancouver at every stage of their lives. But we’re also eager to give them an even better standard of care — and for that, we need your help.

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