A local property-management group has donated $1.5 million to support Royal Inland Hospital’s new patient-care tower project now under construction.
Kelson Group will dole out the dollars over a six-year timeline, earmarking the funds specifically to outfit the mental health and substance use (MHSU) department of the hospital that will move from the Alumnae Tower to the patient-care tower when it opens in 2022.
The new 30-bed floor will have private patient rooms — whereas the current 30-bed space has rooms housing multiple patients — lounges, outdoor courtyards and an ample amount of natural light.
“The patient-care tower project is going to modernize the MHSU department at Royal Inland Hospital,” said IH health service administrator, Debi Morris. “Our inpatient unit, built in 1962, needs updating. The new department will be an inviting, calm and therapeutic environment where patients can be cared for in the spaces they deserve.”
The Royal Inland Hospital foundation is raising $20 million to go toward the $417-million patient-care tower. Having raised $4 million last year, the foundation’s goal for 2019-2020 is to bring in $5 million.
Alisa Coquet, campaign director for the RIH Foundation, told KTW the foundation has garnered plenty of support from private donors, but is not releasing how much has been collected until some time in 2020, when it will have hopefully reached 70 to 80 per cent of the goal.
The Kelson Group’s $1.5-million donation to the hospital’s mental-health department is the largest gift RIH Foundation has received from the company.
“We believe mental health is becoming increasingly important to focus on for the overall health of our communities, especially as we strive to help people live better,” Kelson Group vice-president Jason Fawcett said. “We see how declining mental health affects our residents and the people in our communities and we want to help.”
The need for inpatient beds for mental-health patients is expected to increase by 47 per cent over the next 20 years, according to Interior Health’s facility profile from 2016-2017.
Established in 1974, the Kelson Group supports RIH both monetarily and through service on its board of directors and has become well known for its philanthropic contribution to various Kamloops causes.
The nine-storey patient-care tower at Royal Inland Hospital will include 42 underground parking spaces, 157 surface parking spots and a rooftop heliport.
It will also include 14 private ante/postpartum patient rooms, six private labour delivery and recovery rooms, three pediatric psychiatry private rooms and 11 operating rooms.
The provincial government is contributing $225 million to the project and the Thompson Regional Hospital District is chipping in with $172 million.
Coquet said what will fill the mental health and substance use department’s space in the Alumnae Tower has yet to be determined.