From left: Catherine O’Donnell, project planning leader; Cloe Boton, Engagement Radicals team member and pharmacy technician; Charmaine Rykyta, surgical unit manager; and Margaret Dyka, patient care co-ordinator stand with some of the gifts for the “What Matters to You” wish campaign. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

From left: Catherine O’Donnell, project planning leader; Cloe Boton, Engagement Radicals team member and pharmacy technician; Charmaine Rykyta, surgical unit manager; and Margaret Dyka, patient care co-ordinator stand with some of the gifts for the “What Matters to You” wish campaign. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey Memorial patients receive gifts from hospital staff

‘What Matters to You’ wish campaign received $5,000 in funding for project

“What matters to you?”

That’s what staff at Surrey Memorial Hospital have been asking the long-term patients during their stay at the hospital.

And some of those answer have turned into wishes being granted.

Back in June, the “What Matters to You” wish campaign received a $5,000-grant from Fraser Health, said Catherine O’Donnell, the project planning leader.

O’Donnell said staff began giving the gifts about two years ago through the campaign.

What Matters to You, according to whatmatterstoyoubc.ca, is “a simple question aimed at improving communication, fostering shared decisions and ensuring that care is aligned with what matters to patients and their families.”

Staff at SMH hospital have taken it a step further by giving gifts wherever they could, and sometimes that meant spending their own money.

Cloe Boton, part of the Engagement Radicals (E-Rads) team and a pharmacy technician, said staff began this campaign before they had any funding to do it.

“We were doing this wishing campaign before we had any money to do it, and then we won a grant to continue our work and then we actually had the money to spend, which was lovely. It was really hard when we didn’t have any money to spend,” she said.

Since receiving the grant, Boton said, staff and the E-Rads team have been about to give about 40 gifts.

Many of the gifts have been food-related such as cheesecake, fish and chips or Chinese food, but other gifts have been a bit larger such as bringing a horse to the hospital for one of the patients.

On Tuesday (Dec. 18), Herbie, who has been at the hospital for a month, received two pieces of cheesecake — his favourite dessert, and the only food he’s been eating.

However, for some people, what matters to them is getting a comb or a brush, a haircut or a hot shave.

Margaret Dyka, a patient care co-ordinator, said some patients ask for minimal gifts because they’ve been at the hospital for so long.

“What they want is just the basics, so it’s not much to give to make them happy,” Dyka said.

By asking, “What matters to you?” Dyka said, it creates a relationship between the nurse and the patient.

“You ask more questions about their lives, rather than (making it) task-oriented,” she said. “This is typically for patients that stay here longer, that we would pay that special attention, not with someone in and out.”

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lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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