Helping Families Through Hard Times

Helping Families Through Hard Times

All of us feel the pinch of inflation — when Canada’s rate hit a 40-year high in 2022, for many families that pinch felt more like a punch. The Special Children’s Fund provides financial relief for necessities like food, gas, parking and accommodations, even medical supplies and prescriptions not covered by insurance. Last year, families in our community relied on it more than ever before.

“The Special Children’s Fund continues to be an essential resource in supporting families who are experiencing financial or social challenges on top of caring for a sick child,” says Nadine Gall, patient care manager at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. “We are seeing more and more families who are struggling to afford the necessary medications, specialized infant formulas, and equipment needed to care for their child out of hospital. Many families do not have health benefits and are in need of immediate supports while benefits are set-up.”

This is especially true for the increasing numbers of refugee families who arrive with few resources, says Gall. Without the Special Children’s Fund many families would go without and their ability to care for their child after discharge would be impacted.

Thanks to your generous support, 3,430 unique requests for help were answered in 2022/23 — a new highwater mark for the Special Children’s Fund with a record $358,191 provided to support families.

“The relief we see on parents faces when they learn that we can help says it all. With access to the Special Children’s Fund, we are able to alleviate a major stressor for these families so that they can focus on caring for their child.”

Your gifts in action

A girl whose family was new to Canada was in dire need of emergency dental surgery when she arrived at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, however, the family had no coverage for the significant cost of her procedure. The Special Children’s Fund was able to step in and cover the $3,292 cost for them.

A patient was admitted for a lengthy stay on Unit 3. Dad was a single parent of twins whose partner had passed away shortly after giving birth. He was suffering from a health concern that prevented him from being able to work or drive, so the Special Children’s Fund assisted with meals, taxis, and medication during their stay in hospital.

A young boy diagnosed with failure to thrive was admitted to the Alberta Children’s Hospital for many months while caregivers worked to make him strong. His mother had very little income and could not afford the costs associated with long stays in hospital. The Special Children’s Fund stepped in to assist with the cost of meals so mom could stay by his side during his time in hospital.

A single mother of three who was also juggling school found herself facing significant financial hardship when she suddenly lost access to her health benefits. She needed medications and formula. The Special Children’s Fund was able to provide interim relief, covering nearly $1,000 in costs while she worked to get her health benefits reinstated.

A boy with autism, global development delay and epilepsy required a bed alarm for safety purposes. Mom was single and could not afford the cost. Again, the Special Children’s Fund was there to help — providing the $200 needed for the bed alarm that mom could have at home to keep her boy safe.

You can read more about how your support of Patient and Family Centred Care changes lives every day at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in our report to the community.

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