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Legacy gift to fund much-needed renovations at Banff Mineral Springs Hospital

“This gift is going to have a huge impact on our patients and it’s going to have a huge impact on our staff and feeling they are giving the best possible care.”
20211207 Hospital Donation 0013
Margie Smith Banff Mineral Springs Hospital administrator accepts a donation from Dave Moberg executor of the estate of Joseph Switzer on Tuesday (Dec. 7). EVAN BUHLER RMO PHOTO

BANFF – A $249,000 legacy gift from a long-time Banff resident who passed away in 2020 will help fund an overhaul of the emergency waiting room and triage area and renovation and state-of-the-art equipment for the palliative care room at Mineral Springs Hospital. 

The large estate gift from Joe Switzer funnelled to the hospital through Covenant Foundation will be used to fund the two vital projects in a bid to “transform care for patients and their families.”

“We’re so thankful for Joe’s contribution,” said Margie Smith, the hospital’s site administrator.

“This gift is going to have a huge impact on our patients and it’s going to have a huge impact on our staff and feeling they are giving the best possible care.”

The emergency room waiting room and triage area renovation aims to improve patient flow, reduce crowding in the busy area and enhance patient privacy, which is critical for patients feeling safe to talk about their health concerns.

This renovation is also intended to allow hospital staff to better observe changing medical conditions and work more quickly to provide essential care to patients. There were more than 10,000 emergency room visits at Mineral Springs Hospital in 2020-21.

The palliative care room renovation will allow for the purchase of specialized equipment and upgrades to the sole palliative care room in the hospital, which is frequently used by the Bow Valley’s aging population.

Updates such as a palliative geriatric chair that helps patients to sit securely upright when visiting others will provide them with a comfortable, dignified and tranquil space to spend quality time with loved ones during their final days.

“We want to get it to a point that encompasses comfort and care and love,” said Smith.

Ultimately, the hospital administrators say the two projects funded in large part by Switzer’s donation will make a positive difference for the health and well-being of people in all stages of their lives.

“I am super passionate about both of these projects,” said Smith.

Switzer passed away in Banff on Feb. 13, 2020. He was 84.

In the summer of 1957, Switzer was hired at the Banff Springs Hotel, and over the next 58 years, he worked his way up in the hotel business and managed several hotels in both the Bahamas and Alberta.

Living in Banff since 1974, he developed a passion for the mountain lifestyle and culture, enjoying skiing in the winter and fishing in summer when he could find time to get away from work.

Later on in retirement, he spent much of his time at the Fairmont Banff Springs golf course playing golf as part of ‘The Dream Team’ with Keith Higginbottom, Taso Mentzelopoulos and Dave Moberg.

Smith said the hospital was dear to Switzer’s heart.

“Joe’s contribution is a real gift,” she said.

Covenant Foundation has provided support to Banff Mineral Springs Hospital since 2016. With the support of donors and the community, the foundation has contributed funds for music therapy, recreation therapy supplies, equipment and programming support, and cardiac monitors for increased patient mobility and independence.