As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Monument Health, our physicians and frontline caregivers have been ceaselessly caring for patients and taking every step possible to protect our communities.
While this surge has affected all aspects of Monument Health, it has been particularly challenging for our frontline caregivers. That’s why the team in Medical Staff Services decided to do something to help. “Our team participates in the Incident Command Center call and our director mentioned that the morale has definitely changed, people are worn out,” explains Kylie Eatherton, Information Specialist. “So we put together three baskets for the floors that are treating COVID-19 patients right now.”
The Medical Staff Services purchased three plastic baskets that can be sanitized, then stocked them with healthy drinks, electrolyte waters, different snacks and goodies and some self-care items like facial masks and foot-spa treatments.
They dropped the baskets off with the hospitalist team on the fourth floor of Rapid City Hospital, who will make sure the items are available to the caregivers and physicians who need them. But the effort isn’t just about snacks and drinks, it’s about reminding those on the frontlines that they have our support. “We see you, we see what you’re doing,” says Anna Mortensen, Medical Staff Coordinator. “We understand that you’re worn out, but we see and recognize what you’re doing for your patients. It’s incredible.”
The team also hopes that this encourages other departments, teams and facilities to take up the challenge to show support to frontline caregivers. “Any team that’s willing to take on that challenge of refilling the baskets can let us know and we can get them the baskets to refill,” says Kylie. “Or if a team wants to do something totally different and go with their own idea to help, that’s great too. We’re just hoping to inspire people to appreciate each other and show support to those that need it.”
An additional resource for caregivers at Rapid City Hospital is the Caregiver Pit Stop, set up in the Meditation Room. The Caregiver Appreciation Team (CAT) originally set up the Pit Stop during Rally and it was such a hit, leaders wanted it brought back to support their caregivers. The Operational Performance Management department took CAT’s idea and ran with it. The Pit Stop offers a variety of snacks throughout the day, massage chairs, activity sheets and a quiet place to take a breather for caregivers before, during or after their shift. Attendants are on hand to make sure that the space remains a relaxing environment, to keep the snacks stocked and to provide a warm welcome to all those who visit.
“I have enjoyed greeting caregivers as they enter, thanking them for all the wonderful work they do, helping make sure snacks stay stocked and even talking through some questions/suggestions for improvement,” says Laura Case, Performance Engineer. “Although I have quite a bit of exposure to many of the departments within the hospital, it is fun to meet new masked faces and see those I have worked with in the past.”
All of these initiatives exist to let frontline caregivers know that their fellow Monument Health caregivers have got their back. As Kylie says, “We don’t want people to feel defeated. We know it’s a long and hard fight, but our caregivers are hanging in there. They’re continuing to provide care to our community, so we want to take care of the people that are doing that.”
Community support has also continued throughout the Black Hills, as donations of food and other support items have been made to caregivers at a number of Monument Health locations. If you would like to donate to support our caregivers, please visit this site for guidance on how you can make a donation.