Thanks to a donation from the Howard J. Rees Foundation, a local foot care clinic will soon be running more efficiently, which is good news for area seniors.
The Foundation stepped up recently and donated approximately $8,000 to cover the purchase of an autoclave sterilizing unit for the clinics.
The Active Lifestyle Centre (ALC) took over running foot-care clinics on site when MHA Home Healthcare closed its Chatham offices earlier this year. The clinics are for seniors on low and fixed incomes and provide healthy maintenance of people’s feet.
As well, the ALC offers six diabetes foot-care clinics over the course of a year, teaming up with the Carlo Rossini Memorial Diabetes Foundation (CRMDF).
More than 2,000 people a year utilize the foot-care clinics at the ALC, according to Linda Lucas, executive director.
The autoclave will save the ALC time and money, as the device uses high-pressure saturated steam to sterilize utensils and other equipment. Currently, Lucas said the implements are hand sanitized, requiring time and chemicals. The heavy use of the cleaning chemicals also adds extra wear and tear on the implements.
With an autoclave, while there will still be some chemical usage, it will be greatly reduced, Lucas said. The automated process will also save a great deal of time.
She said the support from the Foundation is greatly appreciated.
“The fact we could get a piece of equipment like this is just amazing. This is hospital-grade,” Lucas said.
Jean Rossini of the CRMDF agreed.
“The ALC needed to get an autoclave, but where were they going to get the money,” she asked. “It’s going to be such a valuable tool.”
The funds from the Rees Foundation will cover the cost of the machine, as well as the price of start-up chemicals, Lucas said.
Rossini said Jan Mallory-Wood, a member of the CRMDF’s board, suggested approaching the Rees foundation.
Lucas said the Rees Foundation acted quickly once they found out about the request.
“It took less than three weeks to get a response to our request, and a cheque was on the way,” she said.
Ed O’Brien, a member of the Rees Foundation’s board, said the foundation normally is very focused on supporting projects in South Kent, but the board members knew the foot-care clinics aren’t just for Chatham residents.
“This falls within the mandate of the Howard Rees Foundation,” he said. “Health, welfare and education. We have people using this facility from South Kent.”
At the press conference announcing the funding last week, ALC officials also unveiled a plaque hanging in the Rees Foundation’s honour.
“Dr. Rees had a soft spot for seniors. It’s appropriate for his name to be hanging here,” Lucas said.
The plaque caught O’Brien by surprise.
“We weren’t expecting the foundation’s name to be hanging here, but we’re very proud to see it.”
Lucas said the use of the foot-care clinics is on the rise. In the past year, the ALC went from hosting three clinics a month to four, and added the diabetic clinics as well.
“We could probably expand again,” she said.