Each year at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) feels more momentous than the last. This is worth celebrating, considering all that has happened during the past few years.
It is no secret that hospitals everywhere are facing incredible challenges, particularly related to staffing shortages made worse by three difficult years navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this setback, staff and physicians across Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), including WLMH, continue to move major projects forward and meet the needs of the communities we serve.
There is a long list of milestones arising from 2022:
• Ground is broken on the new hospital. Decades of community and hospital advocacy, and years of planning led to a moment this fall when the soil officially turned and excavation commenced. That long-awaited symbol of progress has finally arrived.
• Babies are once again gracing the halls of WLMH after a temporary program hiatus. The maternal service’s return required many helping hands from inside and outside the hospital, but it is now better set up for long-term growth and success. The return brought many familiar faces back to the site and will include the largest team of obstetricians and gynecologists in the program’s history.
• Exponential growth continues in the site’s day surgery program. The innovative Surgeon of the Week initiative really hit its stride this year, bringing a team of specialists from across HHS to see patients and provide a wide range of specialty procedures at WLMH. Operating rooms at WLMH are currently running at 100 per cent of pre-pandemic surgical activity.
• HHS launched the largest transformational initiative in the hospital’s history, implementing our new digital health information system. Through its app, called MyChart, patients have more control than ever in managing their appointments, communicating with care providers and accessing their medical history.
All of these are great achievements that can stand on their own. However, possibly the most momentous milestone at WLMH this year took place outside of the hospital.
It happened in the homes and businesses and recreation centres and parks and festivals and places of worship where members of the community came together and made the critical decision to financially support the new hospital. The Take It To The Finish campaign – led by the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation and its campaign team – achieved the fundraising target needed to support a rebuilt WLMH. Significant commitments from municipal and regional government partners (as well as past donations) got the ball rolling, and the community took it across the finish line.
Hospitals need community support, now more than ever. Fundraising is a vital lifeline that provides the money needed for essential medical equipment, tools and devices, as well as to build brand new, state-of-the-art facilities. Community generosity towards WLMH has always been boundless, and it has never been more visible than at this moment in time.
Thank you to everyone who continues to give and make a difference in patients’ lives. Wishing you and your loved ones a safe, happy and healthy holiday season, with many more milestones to come in 2023.
President and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences
VP, Community Medicine & Population Health, Interprofessional Practice/Development & Clinical Education, & WLMH Exec. Site Lead, Hamilton Health Sciences