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2022 Annual Report

You bring care to life

Because of you, innovative research and life-affirming care are happening at St. Paul’s Hospital and across Providence Health Care. Here’s what your generosity has made possible this past year.

Your impact

625,374

lives impacted through patient care

178

heart and kidney transplants performed

245

clinical research trials funded

Image of residents at MSJ Extended Care Unit

Reimagining seniors care

Right now, all six of Providence’s long-term care homes are in the midst of a transformation. It’s called Home for Us – a unique, holistic approach to seniors’ care underpinned by a shift in what it means to live in long-term care.

Dr. Amy Salmon and her team support the Home for Us initiative with real-time research carried out alongside their clinical-care colleagues. It’s an unusual collaboration that wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our donors, including lead donor, the Conconi Family Foundation. Best of all, it’s having a rapid, life-changing impact on our homes and the people who live and work in them.

“We’re shifting the focus away from a task-driven approach to one that really puts residents at the centre,” says Salmon.

The research team asks the residents, families, and caregivers questions like: “How do we create joy in someone’s day? How do we truly support the dignity and autonomy of residents in long-term care homes? How do we demonstrate how much we value the contributions they bring to their communities?”

The goal is to create the same comfortable spaces and genuine interactions you would have in your own home. A place where you eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, and experience as much (or as little) independence as you want.

With the success of Home for Us, we are proud to apply our learnings to our newest transformative project in Comox. Inspired by the dementia village concept, Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea will deconstruct the traditional model of long-term care. Residents will live in small households. They’ll have private rooms and bathrooms. And they’ll enjoy safe access to the outdoors.

It’s an ambitious, compassionate project. And it’s happening because of the generosity of donors like you.

Image of Dr. Alyson Wong with patient

Unlocking the clues to long COVID

The Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI) at St. Paul’s is home to the largest chronic lung disease program in Canada. When the pandemic hit, researchers hit the ground running to fast-track studies and improve patient care and outcomes.

We’ve learned that COVID is not just an acute infection of the respiratory system. After their initial illness, thousands of patients still struggle with long COVID symptoms: fatigue, shortness of breath, abnormal heart rates, brain fog, and sleep disturbances.

Dr. Alyson Wong, a respirologist at our post-COVID Respiratory Clinic, is part of a team looking into why some people have such prolonged symptoms. They’ve seen more than 150 patients who were hospitalized with severe COVID. And while lung function improved between 3 and 6 months after, by 12 months, the improvements had stopped. And despite nearly-normal breathing and imaging tests, 60% of patients reported ongoing symptoms a full year later.

The causes of these persistent symptoms are still poorly understood. And although there aren’t a lot of treatment options (yet), Wong says the patients have embraced the opportunity to be part of the team’s groundbreaking research.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jim Russell, a principal investigator with HLI, has been looking for signals that might predict the severity of long COVID symptoms.

Early on, Russell’s team noticed a novel condition among patients hospitalized with severe illness: those with liver dysfunction prior to getting COVID had more severe lung problems months after they were discharged. The team is now investigating a possible link between liver dysfunction and lung complications.

Their findings could lead to the development of a simple blood test to see if someone carries a higher risk of severe illness or long COVID.

“The impact of donor giving during the pandemic – and beyond – will help people for a long time,” says Russell. We couldn’t agree more. Thank you!

Image of Lucia, patient of Providence Breast Centre

Transforming pain management

The Providence Breast Centre (PBC) at Mount St. Joseph’s treats 20% of BC’s breast cancer patients. Each year, we perform 1,200 breast cancer surgeries, more than any other facility in the province.

We’re home to one of the busiest breast reconstruction programs in Canada. When the pandemic threatened to delay essential breast surgeries, PBC fast-tracked a technique that doesn’t require general anesthesia. Little did we know, it would spark a pain-reducing revolution across Providence.

The new technique is called a peripheral nerve block. It uses local anesthesia – like the kind your dentist gives you before a filling – injected into the back and chest to numb the entire breast area.

When you don’t have to put patients to sleep, they recover more quickly, experience fewer post-op complications, and leave the hospital sooner. And because regional anesthesia is so much faster and safer to administer, the breast centre team were able to perform more surgeries.

Until recently, only a handful of anesthesiologists were trained to deliver nerve blocks. Then, the team realized this technique could also lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission. With general anesthesia, you have to insert a breathing tube. This can spread aerosol droplets increasing the risk of exposure for everyone in the operating room. Nerve blocks do not have this risk.

The obvious solution was to train more physicians. So we did just that.

Thanks to your donations to Greatest Needs, dozens of doctors at the Breast Centre and across Providence are now using the technique.

It’s being used in emergency at St. Paul’s Hospital for the 300+ patients a year who arrive with broken hips while they wait for surgery. And it’s used in the cardiac department as a replacement for problematic opioids following heart surgery.

In the words of one grateful patient, “I was really impressed. I was comfortable and awake immediately following my surgery. And I was able to go home about an hour later!”

Rendering of new St. Paul's Hospital on the Jim Pattison Medical Campus

Bringing the future of health care to life

With a new hospital and medical campus under construction, the future of medical research is happening now.

The new St. Paul’s Hospital is purpose built to put people first.

And it’s already transforming the landscape on Station Street in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats neighbourhood. Construction is underway, the concrete forms are poured, and in 2027, the campus – about the size of 8 city blocks – will create unprecedented opportunities for researchers, clinicians and life sciences industry partners to collaborate, innovate, and accelerate the latest medical breakthroughs.

A highlight from last year was experiencing life-size models of patient rooms, operating rooms, and workspaces. Walking through the physical layout brought everything to life. Our clinical team and staff have been working hard behind the scenes giving feedback and inspiration to guide this process. This team of talented, tenacious people – more than 6,000 strong – are truly the heart and soul of St. Paul’s. And the new hospital is being custom built to help them do what they do best: provide innovative, compassionate care for patients and their families.

Of course, the new building is just the beginning. Thanks to a generous donor, we’re thrilled to announce the purchase of a new PET/CT scanner. The new scanner will be a critical tool to advance care for our patients, reduce wait times, and provide greater access to diagnostic services. It will also position us at the forefront of diagnostic imaging in BC. This is just one example of how tools and technology will help us achieve new milestones in medical excellence.

With donors like you, imagine what we can do on a campus built to put people first? Where patient services are linked and easily accessible. Where clinical spaces are equipped with leading-edge equipment. And where our exceptional people create an innovation ecosystem that improves care, prevents disease, and brings discoveries to life.

This is the future of health care. And you’re helping us change everything.

Financials Overview

Your incredible support has made it possible to meet essential needs, support leading-edge research, and enhance the lives of patients and staff in countless ways. And you’re helping build a new hospital and medical campus that will change the future of health care in BC and beyond.

Revenue: $61,083,145

Disbursements: $27,164,065

Image of Glenn Ives and Dick Vollet

Leadership Message

“I hope you feel proud about the impact that you and our community are having on those we serve across the province.”

Glenn Ives, Chair & Dick Vollet, President and CEO

 

You are the reason for so many of this year’s milestone achievements.

We’re on the runway to the new St. Paul’s Hospital. We are so proud to see the new St. Paul’s taking shape on Station Street and on track to open in 2027. Later this year, we’ll break ground on the incredible research hub that will be attached to the new hospital. And that’s just the beginning. Thanks to donors like you, the Jim Pattison Medical Campus is the most innovative and integrated capital health care project in Western Canadian history.

A wholesale shift in seniors care. Construction on Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea in Comox is underway. This is the first of our new long-term care villages and it’s going to change everything by creating a genuinely home-like environment where families, children, staff, and visitors are woven into the fabric of daily life.

Special thanks. Warm welcome. Heartfelt thanks to John Montalbano. John has been a passionate advocate for the Foundation and is concluding his term as board chair after three years of service. And a warm welcome to our new chair, Glenn Ives. Glenn joined the board in 2020 and chaired our Finance Committee.

Your enduring trust. You bring all of this care, and more, to life. Your generosity has put new technologies into the hands of our clinicians. You’ve supported innovative research, helped recruit talented medical leaders, and given us the means to train the next generation of change-makers. With every donation, large and small, you’ve made a meaningful difference in the lives of patients, residents, health care heroes, and families across BC.

We are humbled by your generous support and grateful to share this journey with you.

Thank you

Your donations to St. Paul’s Foundation have an impact on every patient, resident, family, and department across St. Paul’s Hospital and all other Providence Health Care hospitals and long-term care homes in BC.

By supporting St. Paul’s Foundation, you are helping all British Columbians.