Bins filled with books, puzzles, sketchbooks, cards and other activities have made their way to patients in various units at St. Joseph’s Health Centre thanks to the generosity of the community.
Sarah Dimmock, Director of Interprofessional Practice at St. Joseph’s, put out a call for donations to help improve patients’ experience during the COVID-19 pandemic – with few visitors able to come on site, she thought patients would appreciate having additional activities to do.
That’s when several community members, like Amy Turner, stepped in to purchase brand new products for patients, help coordinate donations from others in the community and further spread the word.
“Many of us aren’t sure how we can show our support, especially when we are staying at home,” Turner said. “St. Joe’s has been there for me and my family countless times so I was happy when I heard there was a way for me to help.”
Dimmock said she was wowed by the magnitude of the response.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity we’ve seen in our neighbourhood – all the signs around the neighbourhood, the pot banging—and now this,” she said. “I sent one email and the next thing I knew, my living room was filled with donations. Our community has been nothing but supportive – they are helping keep everyone going.”
Aside from stationary, games and other forms of entertainment, donations have also included personal hygiene products for patients.
Monica Figueiredo, Advanced Practice Clinical Educator in the Adult Inpatient Mental Health program, is seeing firsthand how much these donations mean to some patients.
“The reality is that some patients do not have a lot, so getting a care package from the community makes them incredibly happy,” she said.
Dimmock and Figueiredo said their whole teams are touched by the donations.
“We want to thank the west end community for thinking about our vulnerable populations and patients who are separated from their loved ones right now. You are bringing joy in what is potentially a dark time in patients’ lives,” said Figueiredo. “This goes to show that when the community comes together, even if everyone just does something small, it can become something big and have a significant impact.”
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