Surrey’s 28-year-old Family Birthing Unit (FBU) was built to accommodate 3,000 births a year. Last year, we delivered more than 5,000.

This busy unit was revolutionary when it was built in the early 1990s. It was Canada’s largest, and BC’s first, single-room maternity centre. Single room care is now the gold standard for maternity care and is available in most Canadian cities.

The unit was refurbished seven years ago with the help of Surrey Hospitals Foundation. In the intervening years, the unit has welcomed more than 35,000 visits and many of the furniture items require replacement.

One big ticket item in desperate need of replacement was sleeper chairs.

When patients in labor are admitted to the FBU, they often come with a support person to stay with them overnight. These support people need a place to sleep. Regrettably, the hospital budget does not include funds for sleeper chairs and our stock of chairs was limited due to damage and wear and tear.

Many rooms were without chairs and support people slept on the floor. Fortunately for the families of Surrey, local furniture designer and manufacturer, Van Gogh Designs, made an incredible donation. They agreed to design, build and donate 30 custom sleeper chairs. Van Gogh Designs created a prototype, and then worked closely with the FBU team to further customize these chairs to provide the best possible patient experience. The value of the donation exceeds $150,000.

Van Gogh Designs is a regular supporter of Surrey Memorial Hospital. At the outset of COVID-19, their concern for health care workers prompted them to donate a complete set of new furniture for every staff room within the hospital. “Van Gogh Designs’ owner and staff are truly committed to the wellbeing and comfort of Surrey’s staff and patients,” says Harp Dhillon, Chair of Surrey Hospitals Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We are incredibly grateful for Van Gogh Designs’ support in the upgrading of our Family Birthing Unit at Surrey Memorial Hospital. With this donation, we can continue to provide life-changing health care to our community.”