An affair to remember: health foundation to launch $1-million capital campaign

“It’s not falling down around our ears, but it is in need of an upgrade.” LEONA THOROGOOD

It’s time to get serious about bringing the Stettler Community Health Centre up to speed to meet the needs of the region for today and tomorrow.

That’s the message behind an 18-month, $1-million fundraising campaign kicking off this month, under the leadership of the Stettler Health Services Foundation.

An Affair for the Heart, a major capital campaign for the foundation, will begin with its official launch on Oct. 25 with a formal event at the Stettler Community Hall.

Foundation chairperson Leona Thorogood said the region’s needs have changed and grown, and the centre needs upgrades and expansion to continue meeting those needs.

“It’s not falling down around our ears, but it is in need of an upgrade,” she said. “If we want any upgrades here in Stettler, we need to be proactive.”

Board member Karin Phibbs echoed those thoughts, saying that the centre services a large area with a growing population, and “it just needs to be upgraded.”

The launch event will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a Scotch tasting at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Several items will be auctioned off, including an antique gas pump appraised at $10,000, and the audience will hear from guest speaker Angus Watt and from several families who have had first-hand experience with health services in Stettler.

However, Thorogood said, the main goal of the evening will be to introduce the campaign, to explain what its goals are and to distinguish it from the other fundraising projects the foundation has held.

While other fundraisers and campaigns have been held to meet ongoing needs, she explained, An Affair for the Heart is a new campaign designed to address some of the health centre’s major capital needs.

Apart from the dialysis unit, the health centre has not seen any major physical changes in roughly 30 years, said Thorogood.

During that time, the region has grown and its needs have changed.

For instance, the labour and delivery unit was originally expected to handle 50 births per year. There were 161 births in 2012-13, and 178 in 2013-14.

A total of 16,172 cases were presented at the emergency room in 2012-13. The numbers were down slightly in 2013-14, when 15,995 cases were presented there.

Thorogood said the capital campaign would aim to upgrade, renovate and expand the hospital so that the facilities can better handle the increased demand.

The issues with the current facilities are varied; for instance, she described the trauma room as being like a closet, doubling as storage space.

The diagnostic equipment is also crowded in its current space, sometimes leading to problems with overheating, while the nursing station functions poorly with supplies often disorganized.

The five major goals of the campaign are: redevelopment of operating rooms; redesign of labour and delivery suites; emergency department expansion; lab and diagnostic imaging expansion; and a geriatric monitoring system.

The final item, Thorogood explained, is intended for seniors who have been placed in acute care while awaiting placement in either long-term or auxiliary care. The monitoring system would offer an added degree of protection to keep patients from wandering.

Thorogood said that the foundation’s plans are in partnership with Alberta Health Services (AHS), which has indicated its willingness to examine the hospital and make suggestions to improve the workflow and patient flow.

Tickets for the launch event are available at The Shoe Closet & Boutique and Wells Furniture at $100 each. Semi-formal attire is requested. Organizers are hoping to attract between 250 and 300 people; around 150 tickets had been sold as of last week.

For more information, visit or phone 403-740-9121.