April 22nd, 2018

Program ensures warmth when patients leave hospital

By Peggy Revell on December 7, 2017.

Heather Bach, executive director of the Medicine Hat and District Health Foundation, is working together with hospital's social work department to collect winter gloves, hats and jackets to ensure those leaving hospital are properly equipped for the cold weather.--NEWS PHOTO EMMA BENNETT


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As all Albertan knows, the weather can do a 180-degree turn in a very short time — and when it does, the Warm Hands Warm Hearts program at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital aims to ensure those leaving the hospital are properly equipped for the cold.

“As you can imagine, people come into emergency for various reasons, and sometimes they’re discharged and the weather has changed,” said Heather Bach, executive director of the Medicine Hat and District Health Foundation, which has helped spearhead the clothing drive for the program run by the hospital’s social work department. “The purpose of the program is to make sure everyone is leaving the building with warm clothing, whether it be hats and toques, or even a coat.”

It’s largely mental health patients who experience this situation, said Bach, but the program is meant for anyone who needs it.

“You don’t want to release anyone out into the cold without the proper attire.”

The department has a closet where items are kept — but about a month ago, the closet was bare, said Bach. Which is why the foundation stepped in to help fill it back up.

This included partnering with local store This and That, as well as in-hospital advertising asking people to clean out their closets and see if there were donatable items.

“We’re in pretty good shape right now, we’ve filled the closet up, but those basics — hats, mitts, socks — they’ll always be needed,” said Bach, and ensuring the closet is filled up will be an ongoing project. “It will always be a need.”

To help out, people are welcome to contact the foundation by phone, 403-528-8133, health.foundation@ahs.ca, http://www.myhealthfoundation.ca.

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