Written by Candace Derksen/Jayme Giesbrecht
This last month of the effort highlights the Spiritual Care program at Boundary Trails Health Centre. Courtesy BTHC Foundation website
The Boundary Trails Health Centre Foundation is in to the final leg of its Donation Conversation.
The three month campaign is working to raise funds that normally would have come in during a number of regular fundraising events throughout the year, however many of those fundraisers had to be cancelled this year because of COVID-19.
This last month of the effort highlights the Spiritual Care program at Boundary Trails Health Centre located between Winkler and Morden. From services in the Chapel, to room visits for long-term patients, to active listening and prayer, the Spiritual Care Co-ordinator takes on a big role. And without the funds raised through the BTHC Foundation, it would not be possible to continue.
Pastor Randy Smart is Chair of the Spiritual Care Advisory Committee and he says the Province does not contribute to the program and as a result, it relies solely on donor support.
He explains the role of a spiritual care coordinator is to be a presence in the building and be available to individual patients throughout the hospital, including palliative care.
“And just the ongoing drama, if you like, of the realities of people when they are ill. They start thinking about ‘who am I?’ ‘what is happening to me?’ and they need perspective mentally and emotionally about things that are beyond our control,” said Smart. “The patients are dealing with those things, their families are dealing with those things and sometimes the staff who care for them find the load heavy as well, and so to have a pastoral presence in the building, someone who is known and trusted by staff and available to the patients, is very important.”
Recently, the committee hired Winkler pastor, Larry Reimer, to fill that role of spiritual care coordinator. His first day on the job will be January 4, 2021. Larry Reimer.
Not only is it his hope to be a regular support to patients, but also to the staff who he says are encountering an incredible and unexpectedly stressful time during COVID-19.
“Now we’re in it. How do we deal with it? How do we navigate forward?”, said Reimer who speaks from personal experience. He explained that his father has been in the hospital several times during this period and Reimer says he’s had to witness his mother go through the trying time of not being able to be at her husband’s side. “Seeing it firsthand really gives you a greater empathy for walking with other people,” he added.
Now that Reimer has been hired on to fill that coordinator role, Smart says the Board is examining how to better coordinate information between the institution and others in the caring community around it. For example, he says what happens in the case of someone coming in with mental health issues?
“How does the hospital deal with it? What are the things that we as part of the community around them can do to provide care?”
Local donors committed $35,000 in matching grants for the campaign this fall, helping to kickstart donations.
So far, $394,450 of the $420,000 goal has been raised.
“We all benefit from the generosity of the people in our community and we don’t always know when we are going to be one of those people in the hospital who needs that person coming alongside to encourage and strengthen us, or to meet and care for one of our family members or friends, and it’s nice to be investing now in a service that could one day be to our own benefit as well,” added Smart.
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