Small grant program funded by Lights of Hope is devoted to enhancing patient care.
The All Nations Sacred Space is a special room at St. Paul’s where patients practice traditional healing and purification ceremonies that bring cultural and spiritual elements to the care and medicine they receive at St. Paul’s. When Neil Fowler, a Project Assistant at the Immunodeficiency Clinic & Aboriginal Health Program at St. Paul’s heard about Enhanced Patient Care (EPC) grants, he saw numerous ways such funding would benefit this space devoted to traditional healing and wellness.
“We have a number of gatherings for patients,” says Neil. “There is a Healing Circle on Tuesdays, a Drop-In Patient Group on Thursdays. There is a healthy cooking group, a Women’s Support Group. We use our Enhanced Patient Care grant to buy food for these gatherings. For the Drop-In Group on Thursdays, for example, we put out a pot of soup, fresh rolls, some fruit. Or when patients are at the IDC for an appointment, instead of sitting in a waiting room they can visit our conference room and have a hot meal. It sounds like a small thing, but eating together creates a nice atmosphere for patients. It’s warm and welcoming.”
Neil lists a number of items he has acquired with EPC grant funding for the All Nations Sacred Space, from the cultural (drums and blankets used in traditional ceremonies) to the everyday (a water cooler and kitchen supplies).
The All Nations Sacred Space setting has also played a part in motivating some patients to keep appointments and create consistency in their treatments.
“Sometimes it’s simply the interaction that patients appreciate,” says Neil, “engaging with each other or having conversations with staff. It can help to keep patients connected, to each other and also to St. Paul’s and their treatment. We often see ‘buddy systems’ form through the All Nations Sacred Space. It’s very special in this way.”
Funded by St. Paul’s Foundation’s Lights of Hope campaign, Enhanced Patient Care grant amounts range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the need. Calls for applications are announced each summer (watch for it in PHC News and other media) and grants are awarded in the fall. The EPC grant’s two-page application form, short and to the point, is appreciated by busy St. Paul’s staff.
In reflecting on how the All Nations Sacred Space has taken shape and how it has helped patients since it was established in June, 2013, Carol Kellman, a Registered Nurse and an Aboriginal Nurse Practice Leader with Providence Health Care, can’t hold back a smile when she describes closing the All Nations Sacred Space for the night.
“We are pretty much turning out the lights and nudging people toward the door,” she says, still smiling. “But it’s a wonderful thing, the sense of family and community that is built in this room. It helps our patients in so many ways, and it is so complimentary to the care they receive from our physicians and nurses.”
The Enhanced Patient Care program is funded each year with donations made to Lights of Hope, which is St. Paul’s Foundation’s biggest public fundraising effort of the year. Lights of Hope is on right now. To support the Enhanced Patient Care Fund and other programs, you can donate to Lights of Hope at http://helpstpauls.com/.