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Annual reports

Accountability and transparency are at the core of what we do. We direct the funds we receive toward areas that make a real difference in child health—and we’re determined to make sure you can see the impact of your giving. Each year, we highlight some of the past year’s achievements in a report to show you what your generosity made possible.

Annual report 2017-18

2017-18 was an unbelievable year.

After a decade in the making, the world-class Teck Acute Care Centre opened its doors. So did the first pediatric in-hospital immunization clinic in Canada. Researchers here got a huge boost to advance personalized medicine projects—ones that could transform cancer treatment, give hope to kids with rare diseases, and even prevent asthma for future generations. We also helped fill the hospital with the most advanced equipment available so that our kids have the best health outcomes.

Here's a snapsnot of what your support helped make possible.

 

We helped launch a new era of children's health care

Treating kids and youth means going beyond the physical—and caring for their emotional and developmental needs, because their early-life experiences shape them. With the opening of the Teck Acute Care Centre on October 29, their needs have been prioritized in ways never before possible.

Surgeries
Surgeries can be scary. Before last year, anxious kids and families would have to wait in a busy room filled with other anxious kids and families. Now, they’re brought to their own private room as soon as they check in—which parents have told us has made a meaningful difference for the stressful hour or two while they wait. To date, that’s had an impact on over 4,500 surgeries. 

Emergency department
Emergency department visits are particularly stressful for kids and families. The new Ledcor Children’s Emergency—with art on the walls and ceilings, single rooms, and a Clinical Decision Unit for prolonged observations—has given kids and families a much more therapeutic space.

Intensive care
The new Hudson Family Pediatric Intensive Care Unit is now double the space of the old unit and, for the first time, has all private patient rooms. The team told us that families are now consistently staying by their child’s side through the night—something they couldn’t do before with its open-concept, crowded space.

The comforts of home
The new medical and surgical inpatient units provide small comforts that have made a big difference. Families have enjoyed meals with loved ones in the kitchen, being able to easily use the laundry rooms, and getting their own private room with a TV, sofa bed, fridge and bathroom.

Taking the healing power of purposeful art to new heights

Last year, we were able to witness the tremendous impact that the Children’s Healing Experience Project had on kids, families and health care professionals alike. And? It’s surpassed expectations. With over 400 pieces of artwork created by more than 65 artists—made possible through the generosity of donors like you—kids and families are engaged, distracted and inspired like never before in a hospital in Canada.

A growing body of research shows that purposeful art like this can lead to measurable health outcomes—like less anxiety, perception of pain and need for sedation. And so far, that’s exactly what we’ve seen.

"The trip from the pre-op area to the operating room is probably one of the scariest a family experiences. The artwork and the murals and the ability to use that to distract the child has made the experience so much less frustrating." — Trish Page, Program Manager, Procedure Suites

"The brightness and artwork along the walls and in each room have provided a calm healing space when it's needed most." — Christy Hay, Program Manager, Emergency Department

"Addison was so enthralled by it that when she couldn't remember much about the recovery room's artwork (due to anesthetic), there were some tears. That was until the amazing nurses said it was okay for her to take a peek before she left." — Jenn, Addison's mom

Last year, donors who gave to critical needs at the hospital helped fill it with advanced equipment built for growing bodies. Here are a few pieces supported through your generous donations.

Transport Monitors
When a critically-ill child needs to be transported, it’s essential to accurately and continuously monitor their condition. These monitors let nurses and doctors observe oxygen levels of kids with breathing difficulties, as well as heart rhythms and rates, for intensive care patients. Each one is also equipped with an alarm that sounds changes in a child’s condition so teams can quickly respond.

Vital Signs Monitors
Checking vital signs like body temperature, pulse, breathing rate and blood pressure are a critical part of patient care. Last year, we were able to add a new fleet of vital signs monitors to the hospital so that health care providers can observe some of the most vulnerable kids for drastic health changes. The monitors are also built to accommodate the range in sizes of patients.

Pediatric Standing Frame
Many kids with cerebral palsy are unable to stand or walk on their own. Used at Sunny Hill, this frame gives kids the ability to stand upright or lie face up or down. It can bring a host of benefits, including increased strength, improved circulation and reduced muscle spasms. It can also promote a child’s psychological well-being by enabling them to interact with their peers at eye level.

Electroretinogram (ERG) System
To diagnose a range of eye disorders and injuries, doctors look at the function of the retina with what’s called an ERG test. Since BC Children’s is the only facility in the province capable of providing this test on kids, over 1,000 come from across the province each year to have it. Last year, we were able to acquire a second system so that kids can be seen sooner and get faster diagnoses and treatments.

Asthma affects 2.4 million Canadians. That’s a massive number. And it’s one that’s continually been rising, with rates tripling in just one generation. Kids with the disease suffer from flare ups that can be disruptive, life-threatening, and a constant source of worry for families.

A few years ago, researchers here made a breakthrough that could change that—finding that babies with the highest risk of developing asthma are missing four common types of gut bacteria, which can be detected as early as three months of age.

In 2018, Dr. Stuart Turvey and his team received a large grant to advance this transformative work. Using genomic sequencing, they will now work to examine the entire community of microbes in diapers from some 3,500 babies. With that, they hope to do two things. The first goal is to develop a test that will predict which kids have a higher risk of getting asthma. The ultimate goal, however, is to develop a replacement of those bacteria to give kids to prevent asthma in the first place.

For decades, the percentage of kids under the age of two who aren’t up to date on their vaccinations has hovered around 33%. That’s especially alarming in a hospital, since kids with complex medical issues are at a higher risk of severe infections and diseases. Experts at BC Children’s made it their mission to do something about that— and last October, their dream became a reality with the opening of Canada’s first pediatric storefront immunization clinic.

The clinic provides all publicly funded immunizations to patients, families and friends at no charge. They can either make an appointment or drop in when they’re at the hospital.

Since it opened, over 2,000 patients and family members have been vaccinated— with more flu shots given to patients than in any previous year. The clinic is part of a larger immunization project that includes working to expand its outreach across the province, train the next generation of experts, and provide immunization counselling to kids and families with complex conditions.

The clinic, part of a five-part immunization project, was made possible thanks to a $15-million gift from lead benefactor Save-On-Foods. The gift also included funding for urgently-needed hospital equipment.

Together, we help catalyze the boldest ideas in science.

When researchers have novel ideas they want to pursue, they need data to back it up in order to get external grant dollars. But it’s a real Catch-22, since they need funds to generate that very data. That’s where you come in. Your support funds catalyst grants that let researchers get their projects off the ground, develop preliminary data, compete in grant competitions to secure external funds, and ultimately, transform care.

Catalyst grants are the key to getting bigger grants— and that’s exactly what happened with several exciting projects. Dr. William Gibson and his team used a recent catalyst grant to pursue research focused on pediatric onset lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease. That led them to discover what they believe is a new “lupus gene”—which was quickly followed by a $31,000 grant from Lupus Canada.

In 2017/18, 33 catalyst grants were awarded to researchers at BC Children’s Hospital. These grants are helping researchers understand whether infection could lead to diabetes. They are supporting research that studies the genetic factors that could lead to inflammatory bowel disease. They’re giving the resources to assess the link between immune responses and the development of obsessive compulsive disorder. And helping them look at the efficacy of the rules for evaluating injuries with CT scans to reduce the risk of unnecessary radiation in kids.

Research like this holds a lot of promise—and we can’t wait to report back on its progress.

 

With the support of donors, BC Children’s Hospital researchers are revolutionizing how cancer is treated in kids.

Huge strides have been made over the years in improving childhood cancer survival rates—which today reach almost 85%. But, another great hurdle remains. The most commonly-used chemotherapy drugs can also bring devastating side effects, including hearing loss and heart failure. Clinicians have long had to rely on a trial-and-error approach to determine which drug to give and at what dose. That’s changing.

Researchers here developed genetic tests that can predict the likelihood of a child developing harmful side effects. So far, over 260 kids undergoing cancer treatment at BC Children’s Hospital have been tested—allowing families and clinicians to make better informed choices that can change the rest of a child’s life.

This research will soon have an even greater impact. Thanks to donor funding and a $10.5-million grant received last year from Genome Canada, Dr. Bruce Carleton and his team are now working to bring this test to 10 children’s hospitals across Canada. They’re also in the process of creating a database of clinical and genomic information for adverse drug reaction research that will be available to investigators around the world to help make drug therapy safer for kids.

"I often say that at a children's hospital, we manage life. We don't manage the end of life, we manage the beginning of life. That's why we are working to understand the diversity of how cancer affects children—so we can come up with better treatment options." —Dr. Bruce Carleton, Director of the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Program at BC Children's Hospital

Last year, significant steps were taken toward launching the Transplantation & Cell Therapy Program (TRACE)—a first-of-its-kind in Canada that is poised to transform care in two ways.

The first step is to improve outcomes for kids who have had transplants by developing new ways to monitor signs of rejection. As an example, kids who have had kidney transplants are currently monitored by performing multiple biopsies—an invasive procedure that requires deep sedation and a hospital stay. Through TRACE, researchers are developing a simple urine test that’s close to being available for clinical use that can monitor for early signs of rejection.

The second step of the program is aimed at expanding cell therapy capabilities—a process in which a patient’s own cells are removed, genetically manipulated and then used as therapeutic tools. For instance, human cells could soon be used to control life-threatening viral infections. This will open up new, potentially life-saving treatment options for hundreds of kids in the province.

Over the last year, visionary donors, including Mining for Miracles, contributed approximately $3 million toward the $6 million budget for the development of the TRACE program and the establishment of two core facilities for the program. These facilities are required to bring novel cell therapies and diagnostics to BC Children’s Hospital.

One

BC Children's is the only hospital in the province devoted exclusively to children

93,000

kids visit the hospital for specialized pediatric services each year

1,000+

researchers on our campus work tirelessly to discover new treatments

Beating the odds

"I thought it slowed me down, but I believe now that I can do anything I want—no matter how many surgeries I've had. I wouldn't be the same person without those scars." — Avery 

Avery's story
Beating the odds

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