Victoria Hospital grateful for unique-to-Saskatchewan donation

Victoria Hospital’s pediatric ward added a unique piece of equipment on Friday that aims to help relieve isolation instead of illness or injuries.

Lakeland Ford purchased and donated two video gaming carts to the hospital, and paid to install new wall mounted smart TVs in every patient room on the pediatric floor.

Victoria Hospital Foundation CEO Sherry Buckler said isolation has been a common concern since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many children staying in the ward are isolated from everyone except hospital staff members and family. Sometimes, if their parents are COVID patients or close contacts, family members might not be allowed to visit either.

Buckler said the gaming carts, which include self-contained, fully loaded Nintendo Switch and Xbox One game systems, will help patients feel less isolated during their time in hospital.

“It is an absolutely priceless gift,” Buckler said during an interview on Friday. “Think about how many hours that sometimes these children have to spend there, often without their family, because families sometimes cannot be there the entire time, and many of these children have to be alone for periods of time, with only our wonderful staff. This is going to provide them with something to lift their spirits, something to pass the time from their hospital beds, and something to take their mind off their worries.”

Victoria Hospital is the only hospital in Saskatchewan with the video game carts, which are designed specifically for hospital use. Buckler said they had to look outside of Canada to find a company that delivered exactly what they wanted, but the search has been worth it.

“They’re already in use,” she said. “We had a little guy in the hospital for a number of days in isolation, and was not doing well. It was soon set up and rolled into his room, and he was thrilled. He was absolutely thrilled because his parents were not able to be with him because they were also in isolation.

“He couldn’t believe it. He said,’ are these real video games? Is this a real Xbox and not the fake one?”

Buckler credited Lakeland Ford for coming up with the donation idea. Managing partner Scott Newsom said they started thinking about a donation after viewing the pediatric ward first hand when his son was a patient there.

Newsom said staff members were doing an incredible job to make patients and their families feel welcome, but noticed a need for something to help relieve the strain.

“It really comes down to, when these kids are in hospital, trying to find ways to make their day just a little bit brighter,” Newsom said. “This isn’t going to change their prognosis, but we can make their day just a little bit brighter while they’re staying at the hospital.”

Newsom added that he hopes the donation will have a trickle-down effect. If it can help patients relax, even for just a day, maybe it will make things easier for doctors and nurses too.

“If they’re more engaged, (and) they’re more excited, that’s also a win,” he said.

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