“The room will be named “Jeffrey’s Place” in honor of Ken Thom’s son, who died just after childbirth in a hospital which lacked the necessary life saving equipment.” Nelem’s said “We wish to honor those babies, like Jeffrey, who have died and the families who have been so sadly redirected and separated in their hour of need.”
It was a two year commitment working with Cops for Kids and the RCMP Regimental Ball to raise over $100,000 to build Jeffrey’s Place. Jeffrey’s Place is a special apartment located in the Kelowna General Hospital specifically for the parents of critically ill children. A place to stay close to their child during their difficult times.
The hospital lacked the specialists and equipment; and parents had limited access to their babies. So the “Jeffrey’s Place” project was created. The goal of the project was to allow families of critically ill children to say close to their baby in extreme times. Families and siblings of critically ill babies who required ongoing specialized care were often separated, as Kelowna lacked capacity. But that all changed, thanks to many donors who helped KGH Foundation raise over $1 million to enable Kelowna General Hospital to upgrade their equipment and build capacity to be able to treat and accommodate both high risk pregnancies and critically ill newborns.
In 2006 Nelems commented that Thom’s Help was invaluable. “Without Ken Thom’s outstanding leadership and the hard work of the Regimental Ball committee, we would not have this new room for the families of critically ill newborn babies at KGH” she said. “A room which is so needed in the difficult times parents of critically ill newborns go though.”
The private suite was built in the neonatal ward to allow relatives of sick and premature infants to remain nearby. They can shower, stay overnight and prepare food so they don’t have to leave the hospital, reducing stress and anxiety from being away from their little one during this crucial time, and can act as direct caregivers at this time. There’s space during the day for older children and grandparents, providing less separation and anxiety from other children and family members. They can come and visit Mom or whoever is with the newborn with no problem.
The Cops for Kids Foundation and the KGH Foundation contributed more than $1 million to refurbish the private suite as well as the hospital’s neonatal unit, furnishings and equipment. he suite features a shared kitchen, a fold-out futon that sleeps two, a bathroom and other amenities. Families stay for as short a time a few hours, overnight or several weeks. If the newborn is not surviving, it allows space for the family to be with the child in a private, homelike setting rather than in intensive care.
Please note that within the following newspaper report they refer to this project as “Jeffrey’s Room”. There was a slight mix up with the reporter and the name is actually “Jeffrey’s Place”. We thought that we would post the article anyway, as all of the information is still there.