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New optical unit will help light the way for patients in Cumberland County


Purchasing Optical Coherence Tomography unit, and Total Body Stepper

UPPER NAPPAN, N.S. – It was a festive night of Christmas cheer as the Cumberland Health Care Foundation celebrated their 21st annual Light the Way campaign on Nov. 27.

“This year’s Light the Way was one of the best attended that we’ve ever had,” Gwen Kerr, managing director of the Cumberland Health Care Foundation, said.

The event featured children from Spring Street Academy singing with Daren White, music from Pic’N’Grin, and the Maritime Hockey League’s Amherst Ramblers.

After the lights were lit in the hospital courtyard, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and Matilda the Elf made an appearance.

Each year Light the Way raises money to buy new equipment for the hospital.

This year’s goal is to raise $97,500 for a new Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Unit for Dr. Orr, and a wheelchair accessible, Total Body Stepper for their rehabilitation department.

“We’re almost there. We have about $4,000 to go,” Kerr said.

The OCT unit costs $90,000.

In Cumberland, Dr. Andrew Orr does several hundred Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) studies per year; they are regarded as a standard of care in a diverse group of eye diseases, notably age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetes.

OCT is a scanning technique that penetrates deeper into the patient’s eyes than would be possible during a regular eye exam, for the purpose of diagnosing eye diseases.

It can detect early warning signs of developing macular degeneration, and monitor confirmed cases for progression, allowing earlier intervention which is associated with better vision loss prevention.

Detecting glaucoma early offers patients the greatest opportunity to begin treatment early and prevent low vision associated with glaucoma.

Using an OCT scanner, glaucoma can be detected up to six years earlier than through other screening methods. OCT scanning is non-invasive: it doesn’t physically touch the eye, and the results are instantaneous.

Without the OCT patients in Cumberland would be facing long journeys to Halifax for these assessments.

The wheelchair accessible, Total Body Stepper costs $7,500

The Rehabilitation Department at the hospital works with patients to restore, maintain and maximize their physical strength, function, mobility, and overall well-being.

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists can address chronic pain, injury prevention, lifestyle adjustments, and general fitness with the use of specialized equipment.

Patients benefit from being able to use specialized equipment provided in the department to aid in their recovery.

The Total Body Stepper, which will be new to the hospital, allows for full-body exercise while accommodating patients’ capabilities.

The adjustable seat can be removed to allow wheelchair access thereby reducing risk in patient transfer.

Applications include orthopedic, sports medicine, neurological, cardiac rehabilitation and senior rehab and wellness training.

Donations can be made for Light the Way throughout the holiday season. It’s never too late to donate as there is always a need.

“We’re so grateful to everyone that helps us to equip this hospital with equipment we might otherwise not be able to obtain,” Kerr said.

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