Looking for Your McMurray Magazine? We've created something even bigger and here to check it out!

Looking for our original content? Welcome back to our original site!



Making A Lasting Impact on Local Health Care Health Foundation Funds Central Monitoring System

(0 votes)

At the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, providing quality patient care is of the utmost importance. Health Centre staff passionately provide safe, effective, efficient patient-centered care. Technologically advanced equipment aids in improving the lives of both patients and staff. The Health Centre’s new central monitoring system is a primary example of such equipment.

A central monitoring system plays a significant role in patient care, allowing physicians and nurses the ability to effectively and efficiently monitor patient vital signs, including temperature, oxygen, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and fluid in the heart and lungs.

This equipment is especially important for victims of heart attack, stroke and other life-threatening conditions.

With an aging system already in place, Health Centre staff recognized the need for a new technologically advanced system which would better meet patient needs. New technology would give Health Centre staff a more complete picture of their patients’ health. The new system would provide more individual cardiac monitoring systems to patient rooms in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the Emergency Department.

It would also provide the ability to limit patient disruption by allowing nurses to monitor patients from a centralized system housed at main desks within the ICU and Emergency Department.

Recognizing this significant need, the Northern Lights Health Foundation provided approximately $1.35 million in funding to make this new system a reality. Funds allocated to the new system were raised through three of the Health Foundation’s special events and annual giving programs.

According to Dallas Kuhr, the Manager of the ICU and Respiratory Therapy at the Heath Centre, having a system available in Wood Buffalo is necessary in keeping patients in the community.

“Without our system, we’d have to send patients out of the community for care,” says Kuhr, a seasoned critical care nurse. “With central monitoring, we can provide the best possible outcome for our patients.”

The Health Centre received the system in 2012, but installation was delayed due to extensive renovations in to the ICU and the Emergency Department.

The new system effectively increased the Emergency Department’s monitored patient beds from four to 25, and the ICU’s monitored patient beds from six to eight.

“The new system has helped make life easier for our patients,” says Kuhr. “We’re not only able to monitor how a patient is doing overall, but we can also recognize critical conditions as they’re happening - such as active heart attacks. As a result, we’re able to provide immediate treatment and have minimal damage to the patient.”

“We’re also able to monitor patients’ health trends. By monitoring vital signs through this system, we’re able to easily determine whether a patient is stabilizing or getting worse,” says Kuhr.

The new system does not only impact those patients staying in the ICU or Emergency Department. It can also be used in other areas of the facility, through the use of portable monitors, called telemetry units.

“With the Health Foundation’s funding, we were able to increase the number of telemetry units in our Health Centre from eight to 16,” says Kuhr. “These portable systems allow us to monitor patients in other units such as Pediatrics.”

These units are also commonly used in the Medicine and Surgery Departments of the Health Centre, where patients’ vitals can be monitored through the centralized system within the ICU.

The new system has also had a positive impact on the lives of Health Centre staff.

“The system is very easy to use,” says Kuhr. “The monitors are touch screen and are large enough that they can be seen easily, especially at night.”

“The Health Foundation has greatly benefitted health care in our region, by providing funds for improvements,” says Kuhr. “We’re able to receive much needed equipment, which we may have not received otherwise. As a result, we’re able to provide the best possible outcome for our patients.”

About the Northern Lights Health Foundation

Established in 1985, the Northern Lights Health Foundation engages people, inspires philanthropy and secures funds to improve health and promote wellness in Wood Buffalo. The Health Foundation connects people with opportunities to have a direct and positive impact on health care in our region.

For more information on our programs and services, or to make a gift, contact us: Northern Lights Health Foundation 7 Hospital Street, Fort McMurray, AB T9H 1P2

Phone: (780) 791-6041 Fax: (780) 791-6241 Email:

Online: @NorLightsHealth NLHealthFoundation


Amelia Schofield is a marketing and communications professional based in Fort McMurray, AB. She’s currently the Marketing and Communications Officer with the Northern Lights Health Foundation and a regular contributor to YMM Magazine.  Amelia is also the Owner + Creator of Amelia Emily Design, a local business specializing in knitted goods.

Follow Amelia on Twitter at @AmeliaSchfld