Not Just a Newspaper

At the beginning of the pandemic, the staff of the Medicine Hat & District Health Foundation began to ponder how to make things better for patients in the hospital. Flowers were delivered in some of the units, and a handful of iPads were purchased for patient use, but what else could be done? Then our Executive Director’s grandmother was admitted to 2 North and a plan began to develop.

During visits with her grandmother, Heather realized many seniors in the unit were unaware of the happenings outside the hospital and were growing restless due to visitor limitations. The need for patients to experience human contact due to boredom meant that nurses were being called upon for company, and as an information source.

Heather began bringing copies of the Medicine Hat News to the unit daily. Over Easter there were colouring pages inside, so she supplied crayons. By the following week, patients were anticipating the newspaper and looking forward to her delivery. This was the beginning of the Health Foundation’s newspaper program.

Since April 2020, staff and volunteers have dedicated an hour a day to ensuring inpatients have access to the Medicine Hat News. Heather had seen the value of an outside connection and knew this was time and money well spent.

The Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta (CFSEA) was approached for financial support on this project. A grant application was approved for $10,000 through their Covid-19 Response Fund for Southeast Alberta. We thank CFSEA for supporting the first year of this program. The Health Foundation Board has provided the funds to continue the newspaper program as the pandemic has worn on.

A year and a half later, thousands of patients have been positively impacted by this program. It is due to the support of our donors that we are able to continue to positively impact patients and healthcare in Southeastern Alberta, and for that we are thankful.