The Bethesda Foundation has purchased some equipment for the hospital in Steinbach, that is available in few other hospitals in our province.

Diane Reimer is Client Services Manager for the Rehabilitation Services Department at Bethesda Regional Health Centre. She says for eight years they have been asking the province for two new ceiling track lifts. Eventually, her department reached out to Bethesda Foundation with that same request, and those tracks have now been purchased and installed.

One of those is an H track, used with their plinth for seating assessments and treatment of inpatients and outpatients who require rehabilitation. The other is a straight track that can be used with a walking sling to mobilize patients who have had a stroke or other injury and who require rehabilitation to learn to walk again.

The two systems cost a combined $33,000. And, Reimer says not a lot of hospitals in Manitoba currently have this technology.

"My understanding is they are fairly unique. Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg has a walking track and I'm not sure of any other sites in Manitoba," she says. "So we feel that we're quite progressive and doing our best to rehabilitate our clients in southern Manitoba."

According to Reimer, the new equipment replaces their mechanical floor lifts. Not only does the floor lift limit the number of positions they can trial the client in to complete a thorough assessment, but therapists and aides are also at an increased risk of injury with the use of the floor-mounted lift. The floor lift obstructs therapists from ergonomically accessing areas of the client they are required to assess.

She adds prior to now, it may have taken two or three staff members to mobilize a patient. Now, that task can be performed by one individual. 

Reimer says any time they request a big-ticket item from the province, there is a fairly lengthy process involved. She notes it is invaluable to have the Bethesda Foundation working for the community, raising money and providing funds for equipment like this. 

"It helps people have services closer to home, so that's always better if people can stay in their community and we know they will rehabilitate faster and we can get them home sooner as well," adds Reimer. "So, we're very thankful for our partnership with Bethesda Foundation."

Linda Peters is Executive Director for Bethesda Foundation. She says the Foundation regularly checks in with the Administrator of the hospital to find out what their needs are. Peters says each year they want to support some sort of equipment needs or training needs that the hospital might have. She notes in this case, the Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Department approached the Foundation directly with this request. Peters had a chance this week to see the equipment in use.

"I was aware that this was already being used but had no idea the actual impact of it," Peters admits. "It's been really cool today to come and see how much it's being used, how much it helps the staff and makes their day easier and more secure feeling."

Peters says more patients now have the ability to have their treatments in Steinbach rather than traveling to Winnipeg.

Staff at Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach showing off the new ceiling track lifts.