2021 Impact Report

Enhancing Wellness in our Community

New experiences enhance quality of life: Virtual Reality provides both recreation and cognitive therapy

It couldn’t have come at a better time as COVID-19 restrictions left many in long-term care facilities facing an isolating reality of limited social interactions and reduced quality of life programs. However, the staff at Carewest remained resourceful and continued to look for opportunities to keep residents socially and cognitively engaged.

The arrival of virtual reality (VR) equipment has given residents more opportunities to engage in a world they love.

With endless opportunities to engage in experiences that otherwise may be impossible, residents can dive into ‘larger than life’ worlds. The technology offers an immersive experience to explore personally relevant new and old locations or the joys of participating in activities such as rock climbing and swimming. For residents experiencing social isolation or with physical limitations, these experiences can be things they’ve always dreamed about.

The use of VR technology also has benefits for supporting overall mental health, provides brain stimulation and builds cognitive capacity, which has been proven to be critical factors in an individual’s overall quality of health.

Certain uses of the technology can also be used in therapeutic treatments for anxiety, depression, PTSD, pain management, and other health concerns. The power of VR is that it creates a safe, controlled environment while allowing a therapist to guide an experience and even offer other sensory tools such as smells that promote relaxation or trigger a memory.
In the most isolating and uncertain year, this technology has opened up endless possibilities for residents.

[VR technology] has provided an opportunity for our residents to explore virtual worlds and engage with technology on a level that they previously thought impossible.

Kristina McGowan, Recreational Therapist, Carewest

Who does Carewest care for?*

Long term care residents
Transitioning rehab and recovery patients from acute care
Supportive living residents (level 4)
Alternative level of care residents that require less acute support
Community beds for supportive living
Active clients in C3 outpatient day support program
Clients under 65 who participate in Young Adult Day (YADS) program, who may suffer from chronic illness or physical disabilities
People in training in the Supportive Pathways Program, providing knowledge and skills to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia
Veterans and RCMP members supported by the Operational Stress Injury (OSI) clinic
* source: Carewest Today 2020

How your support advanced COVID-19 research

It’s been a year… But because of your generous support for COVID-19 response and recovery we’re making it through! Thank you for being an important part of the support needed to keep going through this challenging year.

disbursed to COVID-19
related initiatives

Your donations are connecting people to health resources and their loved ones like never before.

Breakthrough investments made in COVID-19

shelters assisted
Giving assistance to seven shelters with emergency preparedness by providing critical supplies to ensure the safety of our vulnerable citizens.
Support for more than 52,000 people who subscribed to Text4Hope, a messaging service that uses cognitive behavior therapy to provide words of hope and inspiration.
Bringing the joy of music to long-term care residents facing visitation restrictions and isolation with curb-side concerts.
ipads purchased
Purchase of 177 iPads to connect patients and long-term care residents to loved ones, providing thousands of hours of conversation and laughter.

COVID-19 spotlight: An early investment leads to 5 million* tests complete

Thanks to donors, a $1.7M investment in testing capacity led to immediately doubling testing early during the pandemic and set the baseline needed to achieve 22,000 tests per day* in October when COVID transmissions began to peak.

Not only was this surge in testing needed for tracing, but testing data was a key source to inform public health decisions to ensure Albertan’s safety.

*source: Alberta Public Labs (APL)

Stories of Impact

Your support of Calgary Health Foundation has funded breakthroughs that are transforming lives. See how!


COVID-19 Care

A team of champions: Dean’s unexpected battle with COVID-19


Enhancing Wellness in the Community

New experiences enhance quality of life: Virtual Reality provides both recreation and cognitive therapy


Advancing Critical Research

From HELLP to hope: Maternal clinical research that is saving lives


Maternal & Newborn Health

Newborns Need and women's health investments are advancing care for the whole family


Mental Health

Ensuring the right care at the right time as demand for mental health and addiction resources is increasing



A win-win for Albertans and Calgary hospitals