The Grande Ronde Hospital Foundation took a moment to celebrate the past 50 years and look ahead to what is in store for the next year during an event Thursday night at GRH.

“It’s people like you who help make the foundation succeed. This is a community hospital. This is our ‘thank-you’ to you,” Board Chair Peter Fallow said to board members and donors in attendance Thursday night.

After recognizing some longtime donors and supporters of the foundation, GRH Foundation Manager Patrick Flynn laid out the vision for the upcoming year with regard to some of the equipment the hospital hopes to acquire.

The previous year saw the hospital, with the help of foundation funding, bring in several new items, most notably a Sim Man, a state-of-the-art machine that is able to replicate real-life scenarios and reactions for training.

GRH is aiming to purchase new items in the upcoming year as well as upgrade pieces of equipment it already owns, including hemodialysis machines for the intensive care unit, a sterilization machine called The Torch, and telehealth remote presence devices.

The addition of new hemodialysis machines — the hospital wants to add two at a total cost of $58,700 — would prevent patients who need dialysis treatment from having to be transferred. Flynn said because GRH does not currently have hemodialysis machines, it has to transfer around 40 patients out of the area each year, usually to Boise, Walla Walla or Tri-Cities. Flynn said the machines would be a major benefit in keeping patient costs down.

“One of our values is to (provide) local care. This will enable that to happen,” Flynn said.

The Torch — two of which the hospital currently owns — is a high-intensity ultraviolet array that emits UV light for cleaning. While a hospital room is routinely sterilized by staff between patients, the array takes the cleaning to the next level. In about 15 minutes it does a full ultraviolet light sweep of the room that disinfects everything touched by the light.

“There are a lot of studies that have been done that (show) this helps reduce infection rates and kills basically everything on the surface,” Flynn said, adding the machines have been proven 30% more effective than standard cleaning procedures.

How powerful is the UV light in the machine? Flynn said it would cause third-degree burns or damage a human retina if someone came in contact with it. The machines do, however, have motion sensors to prevent an accident like that from happening.

Flynn said Torches cost $25,000 apiece.

GRH is also committing $70,000 to replacing and expanding its current fleet of telehealth remote presence devices, which allow out-of-the-area specialists to meet with and treat patients remotely.

“(Staff also) can conference in with a remote specialist that we contract with and can go over vitals,” Flynn added.

The telehealth devices, which are mobile and have a pivoting monitor, have several other features, such as high-definition cameras for visual inspections, hookups for monitoring, privacy capabilities, and they are fully encoded to keep a patient’s medical file secure, to name a few.

Flynn said the model and number of telehealth robots that GRH could add is currently being looked at, and the hope is to add at least two.