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Auxiliary celebrates banner year

Volunteer group donated more than $800,000 to Delta Hospital in 2011

It was another stellar year for the Delta Hospital Auxiliary.

The volunteer organization celebrated a successful 2011 at its annual general meeting at the Delta Town & Country Inn on Wednesday.

The auxiliary purchased hundreds of thousands in equipment last year, while also providing for the residential care unit, music therapy program as well as bursaries for students and staff.

The biggest purchase made was $700,000 for digital mammography equipment.

Volunteers put in tens of thousands of hours every year at the auxiliary's gift shop, Lifeline unit, Ladner thrift store and Courtyard Café. They're also involved in such activities as making post surgical pillows for mastectomy and other surgical patients.

In 2011, the 600-squarefoot hospital gift shop had gross sales of over $244,000.

Meanwhile, the thrift store in Ladner Village had record sales of over $791,000, while the Christmas store brought in over $60,000.

The auxiliary provided over 52,000 of volunteer hours.

Past president Elaine Canning told the Optimist that with over $800,000 donated to Delta Hospital, the auxiliary gave more than any member of B.C. Health-Care Auxiliary.

She said a funding announcement for 2012 will be made May 10, when it's Health Care Auxiliary Day.

The auxiliary has been participating in a master site planning exercise with Fraser Health to shape the future role of the hospital.

In her annual report, auxiliary president Beryl Matthewson noted there has been a 233 per cent increase in acute care level visits to Delta Hospital's emergency department, indicative of the need to double the number of beds there by 2020.

She noted the demographics of Delta suggest a sharp increase coming in the population over the age of 65. Illnesses associated with this population are primarily dementia and cardiac, suggesting the residential care facility will also need to double in size and update its capabilities, according to Matthewson.

Delta Hospital in the next five years, stated Matthewson, should see the diagnostic imaging department expanded, laboratory relocated and enlarged, and the rapid access outpatient clinical services enhanced.

Matthewson said Fraser Health's buzzwords are "Challenge 350."

The average hospital stay is presently 8.2 days, but if this were reduced to 6.4 days, 350 beds would be freed in the region, noted Matthewson.

She said one initiative being explored is for stroke recovery and rehabilitation transition. This involves support of physiotherapy departments, thus, the Delta Hospital Auxiliary has decided to revisit plans that were explored a few years ago to renovate the hospital's physiotherapy area.

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