Tree of Hope campaign lights up

It may not be the best of puns, but organizers are serious about their Get Bedder fundraising campaign.

Director of patient care Maureen Thomson of Penticton Regional Hospital and Janice Perrino of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation with one of the beds similar to the new ones they hope to purchase with money raised during this year's annual Tree of Dreams campaign.

It may not be the best of puns, but organizers are serious about their Get Bedder fundraising campaign for the Penticton hospital.

Get Bedder is the theme for the ninth annual Tree of Dreams fundraising campaign, and organizers are hoping that over the Christmas season, they can raise enough to purchase at least 20 new beds for Penticton Regional Hospital. Beds may not be as high-profile as a new CT Scanner, digital mammography unit, or any of the other high-tech tools the foundation’s fundraising has bought for the hospital over the last few years, but Janice Perrino, executive director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation, said they are another key piece of the healthcare puzzle.

Every patient receiving care experiences the beds during their time at the hospital and though they are taken for granted, comfortable rest is a key factor in recovery. And a modern hospital bed, Perrino explained, is much more than simply a place to stash a patient.

“It is absolutely an incredible bed in that it does things that no other beds do,” she said. The adjustable air mattresses not only makes the patient more comfortable, it reduces stress on the skin, helping reduce the chance of bed sores developing.

“The mattresses, in particular are just so comfortable it doesn’t do that, it helps prevent your skin from breaking down, it helps to keep your body as comfortable and as agile as possible, so when you do get back up, you are not so stiff you can’t move.”

The beds also have built-in sensors to measure body weight, simplifying tracking the patient’s process. Also, an alarm can let staff know when a potentially confused patient has slipped out of bed.

Though the campaign just kicked off on Dec. 1, Perrino said the response has already been good, with everyone understanding how important the beds are.

“Every portion of the hospital is in need of beds,” said Perrino. “The bed itself can last up to 14 years. And the mattresses are around five to seven years. So in fact, these beds may be able to be moved over to the new tower.”

But at $4,600 for the mattress and $6,400 for the unit, hospital beds don’t come cheap. Perrino said they have set a goal of $250,000 for the campaign, enough to buy 20 beds. The hospital does buy beds out of its provincial funding, but that doesn’t always stretch far enough.

“If we do end up getting more, we will buy more,” said Perrino. “Until the big campaign (for the hospital expansion) starts, we are going to try and buy you as many beds as we can, particularly for the trauma area, where there are the most complex injuries and surgeries.”

For more information or to make a donation, call 250-492-9027, 1-866-771-0994, make your donation at www.somedicalfoundation.com or drop you off to Penticton Regional Hospital to the SOS Medical Foundation office in the lobby of the hospital.