November 5, 2018
RED DEER — Veterans receiving care at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre are having their service recognized through a new program.
Launched last month, the Veteran Recognition Program enables current and past members of all service branches to identify that service during the admission process. For those wishing to be recognized through the program, a poppy magnet is placed on their in-room whiteboard for the duration of their hospital stay.
“The Veteran Recognition Program is an important way to honour the selfless acts made by the men and women who have served our country,” says MLA Nicole Goehring, the Government of Alberta’s Liaison to the Canadian Armed Forces. “I thank the leadership and staff at the Red Deer Regional Hospital for listening to the needs of local veterans and launching this program to help their medical teams recognize the sacrifices veterans have made.”
Shannon McCarthy, Executive Director at the hospital, adds: “We hope this small act helps demonstrate the honour, respect and gratitude we have for their service.”
The idea for the program stemmed from a patient suggestion brought forward by retired Capt. Allan Gooding during his hospital stay earlier this year.
“As a patient at the hospital, I was a bit surprised they didn’t have a way to recognize veterans already,” says Gooding. “I wasn’t as concerned about being recognized myself but wanted to ensure other veterans were able to be recognized and thanked for their service. I told hospital leadership how important it was to me and was very impressed with how quickly they acted.”
Sharon Bilanksi, Director of Peri-Operative and Inpatient Surgery at the hospital, heard Gooding’s concern and saw an opportunity to make a change. “I am so pleased Allan brought his concern forward to us, and that we are able to thank veterans for their dedication and selflessness in this way,” says Bilanksi. “This is an excellent example of listening to what matters to our patients.”
The magnetic poppies have been purchased through CANEX – a unit of the Canadian Forces, with proceeds going to the Royal Canadian Legion. The legion provides a variety of services that continue to honour, support and advocate for Canada’s veterans.
For Gooding, seeing how his initial tale of concern has blossomed into a happy ending is welcome news. “I’m very happy with the program and all that AHS has done to make it happen.”
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.
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