A celebration marking the reopening of the fourth floor entrance at Shuswap Lake General Hospital also provided further closure to lingering pandemic restrictions.
Just before 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 20, hospital staff, Shuswap Lake Health-Care Auxiliary volunteers and others gathered for the official reopening of the automated doorway which, prior to the pandemic, served as a main entrance for hospital patients and visitors who, once inside, were greeted by auxiliary members identified by their red coats.
“Our gift shop is located just inside here, which is one of our main sources of revenue,” said auxiliary volunteer Arline Allison. “It’s been very difficult getting people up here because they had to come in through emergency all the time.”
The Salmon Arm hospital’s clinical operations director, Megan Cox, welcomed the crowd, including Splatsin Elder Randy Williams who, prior to the official reopening, provided a ceremonial smudging of attendees and the entry way.
“For us this is a really big moment, with the restrictions changing a little more a few weeks ago,” Cox told the Observer. “For us, it means our patients and our families can come in a little more freely. It means we don’t have to wear masks all the time. We decided to take a moment to take an opportunity to hold space for our staff and our patients and our families, have a bit of closure as we open the doors.”
Cox said it was an honour having Williams do the smudging and to have the opportunity to pause and acknowledge everything hospital staff and volunteers have gone through with the pandemic. Cox acknowledged the importance of having auxiliary members once again at the entrance, greeting staff, patients and visitors.
“It means a lot for our staff seeing them every day and then how they help and assist our patients and our families,” said Cox. “This is also where our sacred space is, so sometimes this is the most important space for some of our patients and our families. We’re really happy to have our auxiliary doing the work they were able to do before the pandemic.”
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