Hospital Auxiliaries

Hospital auxiliaries were composed of volunteers—nurses, wives of doctors, civic employees, and others—who performed services of a social nature. They escorted patients to different areas of the hospital, brought goods in a cart to sell to convalescing patients, and raised money through bake sales, teas, and a gift shop. In the early days when money was scarce, members would buy yard goods and make sheets, pillow slips, operating room linens, and drapes. At the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, the auxiliary members also staffed the library and brought patients to the chapel for Sunday services. They supplied toys at Christmas for the Pediatric ward, and arranged for a memorial service every three months for people who had died in the hospital. With changing economic conditions auxiliaries have largely disappeared, except in the larger cities. A conspicuous exception in rural Saskatchewan is Gainsborough, where the “Ladies Hospital Auxiliary” was formed in 1948. Even with the conversion of the hospital to the Gainsborough and District Health Centre, the auxiliary is still very much alive, and recently raised money for a special mattress for palliative care patients.

John A. Boan