September 14, 2015
Story and photo by Sharman Hnatiuk
The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Family Room is now open, giving pediatric mental health patients and their families a welcoming, friendly space to spend time together while at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
Located within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit, the hockey-themed room includes murals that depict the Oilers dressing room and features a floor designed to mimic an NHL hockey rink. The modified patient room gives families a comfortable place to stay as they await admission, and enjoy private time together during a child’s time in hospital. The room also includes space where parents can work in tandem with clinicians on strategies to manage their child’s illness and associated behaviours.
“It is so important that the space where we provide care to children, youth and families is warm, therapeutic and engaging,” says Mark Snaterse, Executive Director of Addiction and Mental Health at Alberta Health Services (AHS).
“The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Family Room provides a colourful, quiet and relaxing environment for our families. It is a wonderful space that will make treatment and education more enjoyable and effective for the families we serve.”
About 400 families access child and adolescent mental health services every year at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, which provides both urgent inpatient care and followup treatment. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit houses a multidisciplinary team that specializes in assessment, stabilization and diagnosis of youth aged six to 18 years of age.
“It is important for parents to feel that they have a place to relax or even stay overnight,” says Christine Mummery, Director of Children, Youth and Families within AHS Addiction and Mental Health. “Having access to a room like this can help facilitate parents really being involved in their child’s care.”
Construction on the family room started last winter and was funded by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation through its Hockey Talks initiative.
Health and wellness is a key pillar in the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation’s mandate to support youth across northern Alberta, an area the foundation affectionately refers to as Oil Country. The foundation has been committed to raising mental health awareness to alleviate the misconceptions and stigma associated with mental illness.
In addition to supporting the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has donated more than $185,000 toward multiple areas of patient care at the Royal Alex since 2003.
The Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation is very pleased to see this space become a reality,” says Andrew Otway, the foundation’s President and CEO.
“The Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation values its community partnerships and working with the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has yielded many positive results for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital over the years – most recently with this new family room. Philanthropic support for mental health often lags behind many other health concerns, making the generosity of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation very special to our hospital.”