Barbara Lucas, acute perinatal social worker at BC Women’s, sees firsthand the effects of the increased cost of living in our province. While several communities have organizations that support families after their children are born, “there are some areas in BC that are lacking the same support.”
“We want to be there to help,” and that’s what the Foundation’s Emergency Support Fund is for.
“We look at both a patient’s financial and medical situation,” says Lucas. Most often the fund helps cover medical relocation costs when a woman needs to spend part or all of her high-risk pregnancy at BC Women’s. “It helps to level the playing field,” she says. “Women in Vancouver have access to the best medical care possible, but in many of the smaller communities in our province there are no specialists who can care for women with high risk pregnancies, and no Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) that can accommodate an extremely premature baby.” Without financial help “a lot of these families would not be able to afford to come down to Vancouver.”
“We try to use facilities such as Ronald McDonald House and Easter Seals House but they fill up quickly, says Lucas. With the rise of hotel prices, gas, and cost of living, moving to Vancouver is simply not viable for families who already have one, or both, parents taking time off work. Plus, with gas prices at an all time high, driving back and forth isn’t much cheaper. The fund subsidizes accommodation costs and meals, which is critical when mortgage or rent still needs to be paid at home.”
This fund allows us to alleviate some of the strain in what is already an overwhelmingly stressful situation, says Lucas. We see women who are so worried about their baby and the additional costs of relocation that it can affect their own physical and mental health.
- $20 could cover a taxi to a medical appointment here in Vancouver, alleviating the cost and the stress of navigating an unfamiliar city.
- $60 could cover the cost of a night at Easter Seals House for one family.
- $100 could help subsidize weekly food costs, in the form of a gift card to our closest grocery story. For a woman from out of town, this is one less thing to worry about.
Contribute to the Emergency Support Fund.