Victoria – Free public Wi-Fi is now available to patients and visitors at Victoria General Hospital (VGH) and the Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH) thanks to financial support from local hospital auxiliaries.
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 Victoria General 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.
VGH Auxiliary President Val Cerini Smith: “We are thrilled to be bringing public Wi-Fi to Victoria General Hospital. We have heard from patients that the financial burden of using their data plans to communicate with family and friends can add to an already stressful situation. This service will help them feel less isolated while they are receiving care.”
RJH Auxiliary President Heather Geerdink: “The Auxiliary volunteers are very pleased to help support funding for the introduction of public Wi-Fi services for patients and their families at the Royal Jubilee Hospital.”
A total of five Island Health hospitals introduced public Wi-Fi this month, with the support of their local foundations or auxiliaries; Cowichan District Hospital, West Coast General Hospital and Lady Minto 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 VGH Auxiliary
Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary is celebrating 35 years of volunteerism in support of patients at the site and the raising of millions of dollars to purchase equipment and amenities. The auxiliary runs an entirely volunteer-staffed gift shop on the concourse at VGH, organizes an annual campaign called Poinsettias for Patients along with its beloved tradition of knitting hats for all newborns at VGH.
About RJH Auxiliary
The Royal Jubilee Hospital Auxiliary has demonstrated exceptional commitment and leadership in the community for over 90 years. Since its formation in 1924, Auxiliary volunteers have raised millions of dollars in support of health care and nursing education in Victoria while providing a delightful source of high quality gifts and treats at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. The Auxiliary’s main fundraising project is a busy gift shop staffed by approximately 70 volunteers. In 2017 the Auxiliary was presented with the Outstanding Philanthropic Service Club Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Vancouver Island Chapter.
Island Health, one of six health jurisdictions in British Columbia, provides health care and support services to more than 765,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River.