Thanks to the generosity of a longstanding family in Maple Ridge, cardiac patients at Ridge Meadows Hospital will be receiving world-class care.
The Jones family has gifted the hospital $200,000 – the first of its kind from the Ron and Alma Jones Foundation – to open a telemetry unit on the third floor of the building where the new equipment will allow patients needing cardiac monitoring to be cared for and monitored upstairs, instead of solely in the ICU.
The unit was officially opened Friday, Oct. 7, by long time residents of Maple Ridge and owners of West Coast Auto Group, Ron and Alma Jones, along with a large contingent of their family, including children and grandchildren.
Present also were: the hospital’s executive director, Rich Dillon; Laura Butler, executive director of the hospital’s foundation; foundation board chair Ron Antalek; and a sizeable group of doctors and nurses.
Butler started the ceremony by thanking the Jones family for trusting the foundation to invest their donation until they found the perfect opportunity to put their money to work for the hospital – and in an area that meant the most to Ron and Alma and their family.
Ron Jones, expressed to the group how proud his family is to be able to give back to the hospital.
“It’s one of the neediest things in Maple Ridge and the most utilized of all of the buildings,” he said.
“The public needs the hospital and it also needs contributors and it needs equipment. It’s always underfunded, it always has been, and I’m sure always will be,” he noted.
Ron also expressed pride that his wife, Alma, was one of the first nurses at the hospital in 1959. And told the group about his many family members who were born at Ridge Meadows Hospital.
Choking back tears, he also mentioned how Alma ended up in the emergency room in need of a pace maker.
“And she got stuck down in the emergency room for three nights over a weekend and it was quite traumatic for her. And so with the telemetry, I understand that that doesn’t happen anymore. Because the utilization of this machine will allow information to go from floor to floor. We are quite pleased with that and we know for sure how much that is needed,” he said.
Emily Horton, clinical nurse educator in the telemetry unit, explained to the group that telemetry is looking at the heart from one angle over a long period of time. In comparison an ECG, which is looking at a heart from many different angles at one period of time.
Patients waiting for heart procedures, or heart surgery, or have had a heart attack, will benefit from the unit, she said.
“To make sure that we can keep them safe, and that nothing bad will happen to them, their heart won’t go into a bad rhythm that we need to correct or anything like that,” she explained.
Typically, said Horton, there would be four patients hooked up to the system per day, sometimes up to six.
Dr. Edward Auersperg noted that between 400 to 500 patients could possibly be helped by the new unit, every year.
Horton also told Ron and Alma that their donation is already at work because they had to develop a whole new training program for the unit, a training program that is already in use by Fraser Health as a new way to up-skill medical and surgical nurses anywhere in the health authority.
“Our program is now being used in Hope already, and it’s being used in Abbotsford. They are rolling it out in a few different areas in order to get those nurses one step up. And we have a few nurses that loved it so much that three of them are already going to ICU’s. So the fruits of your money are already coming,” she told them. “What a gift,” she added.
Dillon noted that now their hospital team will be able to grow “in-house”.
“Versus what typically would happen is if they wanted to go to another area, they may go to another hospital,” he explained.
Ron added that the family has also formed a grants committee to further the family’s philanthropic work in the community.
“We are so pleased to be a part of the community for a long, long time. And we hope to continue on for a long, long time,” he said.
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