New Wi-Fi connects hospital patients and visitors

Duncan Free public Wi-Fi is now available to patients and visitors at the Cowichan District Hospital thanks to the Cowichan District Hospital Auxiliary and the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation who have fully funded this initiative.

In April 2018, Lake Cowichan resident, Sarah Gibson, started a petition asking Island Health to introduce free public Wi-Fi for patients. Gibson, who lives with Cystic Fibrosis, found the financial burden of using her data plan while she’s in the hospital to stay connected with family, friends and her CF support group was an added stress.

Health Minister Adrian Dix: “I would like to thank Sarah for creating awareness on the benefits of publicly-accessible Wi-Fi at hospitals. Her efforts led us to develop a creative solution to provide free Wi-Fi at Cowichan District Hospital. There are many critically important demands in our health-care system; however, when we engage our auxiliaries and foundations we can deliver on patient-centric amenities like Wi-Fi that enhance medical services and programs and help patients stay more connected.” 

Island Health patient Sarah Gibson: “This is great news! I would like to thank all of the foundations and auxiliaries who stepped up to fund this service. While staying connected through Wi-Fi may not be a medical service, I know from experience, that having those connections outside the hospital can really help in healing and recovery.”

Patients and visitors can access the new service by searching for and connecting to the wireless network “IslandHealthGuest”. Free public Wi-Fi will support basic internet browsing, but not the large bandwidths associated with high-definition video streaming. The service began on September 6, 2018.

CDH Auxiliary President Susan Leslie:  “We are thrilled to be bringing public Wi-Fi to patients and visitors at Cowichan District Hospital. We know how important a strong support network is for people who are in hospital, having internet access can help patients feel less isolated and more connected to their loved ones.”

CDH Foundation Board Chair Alison Taylor: “The care and comfort of patients is our priority. There is nothing more comforting than friends and family – especially in times of crisis. We hope the bringing public Wi-Fi to CDH will support patients and make their time in hospital a little more comfortable.”

A total of five Island Health hospitals introduced public Wi-Fi this month, with the support of their local foundations or auxiliaries; Victoria General Hospital, Royal Jubilee Hospital, Lady Minto Hospital and West Coast General Hospital are the latest hospitals to offer this service. Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s public Wi-Fi launched in June, and the North Island Hospital campuses in Campbell River and Comox included Wi-Fi when they opened in 2017.

Island Health Board Chair Leah Hollins: “We are delighted to partner with our auxiliaries and foundations to provide basic public internet services. Having the costs of public Wi-Fi covered by our partners allows Island Health to continue to appropriately direct its resources to medical care while offering valued support to patients and guests.”  

About the Cowichan District Hospital Auxiliary
The Auxiliary and its 180 dedicated volunteers provide care and comfort of patients and residents at the Cowichan District Hospital and Cairnsmore Place. The Auxiliary has been buying equipment and supporting patients since 1932.

About the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation

The Cowichan District Hospital Foundation (CDHF) was established in 1984 as a registered charity for the purpose of raising funds to purchase equipment and support patient/resident care and comfort at Cowichan District Hospital and Cairnsmore Place. The CDHF raises money through various events during the year, namely their Annual Dinner Auction, Golf Tournament, and Annual Appeal. 

Island Health

Island Health, one of six health jurisdictions in British Columbia, provides health care and support services to more than 767,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River.


Media Inquiries:
Meribeth Burton