In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading westward across the country, Monument Health prepared for the worst, establishing a surge unit with 160 extra beds. Fortunately, almost none of the beds were needed, providing an opportunity to help the community in a different way. Instead of sleeping patients, the majority of the beds have been donated to Rapid City Youth & Family Services.
“YFS has a program where they find beds for underprivileged children,” said Jace Brock, a buyer with Supply Chain. “Initially we had 75 beds, and they had an immediate need for all of them — these are low income kids who either have no beds or are doubled up in sleeping situations. Within a week of donating those beds, they had them in homes of children that didn’t have any.”
The CARES Act, signed into law in March, 2020, enabled Monument Health to create the surge unit, and acquire these beds in preparation of a large number of COVID-19 patients. “The unit didn’t really see service, thank goodness, but it was crucial to be prepared,” said David Byers, Project Manager with Operational Performance Management. “As we decommission these spaces, we don’t want anything to go to waste. These beds are great, we just don’t have a purpose for them in our care setting at this point in time. So we’re glad that YFS can put them to good use.”
Of the 160 beds that were set up last year, only 10 saw any use by patients. “We are keeping some for overnight stays for caregivers and physicians, in case of emergencies, blizzards or other situations,” said Jace. “The donated beds are high-quality, and have never been used.”
“There’s a need. We’ve got a lot of families that have lots of siblings that were previously sleeping on the floor or had no furniture in their homes. So this is a huge gift for kids who have maybe had to share a bed or didn’t have one to have their very own bed, so we are very excited to give these to kids and families,” said Brianna Nelson, Communications Coordinator for Youth & Family Services. “We are so thankful for this donation, it has helped so many families. It’s a really great feeling and we appreciate their support with that.”
A second round of donation brought the total number of beds donated to YFS to 91. “I know, we’re not in the clear yet,” said David. “COVID-19 isn’t behind us yet, but this feels good. It feels like a step toward normal, and it’s helping kids in the community at the same time.”
“I look at this as hopefully one of many silver linings in coming out of this pandemic,” added Jace.