While there have been heroes all across this organization going above and beyond, dedicating themselves to serving our patients, our employees and our staff I want to take a few moments to share the story of our medical respite shelter, as I reflected on it the night after it opened.
As I sit here on the couch of my living room, comfortable in air conditioning, watching the Roomba clean up sand and silt left from bringing in our outdoor furniture, I am over-come with tears. Tears needing to be released after witnessing nearly every aspect of humanity over the last four days. Tears of sorrow, tears of gratitude, tears of awe and tears of hope.
The journey began with seeing a need. A team realization that the lives of medically complex patients in our hospital and in our community have forever been changed. These patients (though they are so much more than that) have lost their power, their homes have been flooded, they are facing chronic and acute illness, and they have had no place to go. How could we as a NHRMC family support these patients in their time of greatest need?
We had a dedicated set of clinicians stepping up to help those in the community and we were facing an increasing need of patients within our hospital walls during the storm. From idea conception at 3 pm, on Monday, working in coordination the county and school administration to re-open the Codington school shelter, NHRMC was able to staff and equip a special medical needs shelter, welcoming the first patient through the doors at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, though the team will tell you they were ready at noon.
This was all made possible by incredible response from our NHRMC family to the general labor pool call, pharmacy services, food and nutrition, materials management and SMAT resources. This shelter was set up by an incredibly dedicated group whose day jobs range from Community Outreach, Clinical Outcomes, Accountable Care, Clinical Documentation, Ambulatory and Ortho Clinicians.
They became our dedicated RNs, NAs, MAs, Case Mangers, Social workers, Pastoral Care, ACPs, Pharmacists and Physicians. In the first 48 hours, we have seen 50 patients walk through the doors of Codington Elementary needing shelter, food, medical care, and most of all compassion.
I have never been more honored and proud to work with such and incredible group of dedicated people supported by an organization that didn’t bat an eye at resourcing a shelter to support our community. This team’s hard work, creativity and drive to care for the most vulnerable in our community brought this to fruition.
The state drills and practices with manuals and guides to stand up a shelter in two days. From door opening to welcoming the first patient, this shelter was operational within seven hours. This amazing group of people has become a team and a family, and are serving our community with their hearts and sweat equity. They have taken clothes from their own homes, bought cupcakes to celebrate a birthday and arranged for a shower trailer to ensure that everyone in the medical respite center feel respected, loved and supported. This team has stood by each other and our patients with prayer circles, hugs, tears and laughter. As NHRMC prepares to hand this shelter off to state support all I can say is thank you to a set of hero’s and bright lights in the face of this storm.