When SCF founder Kate first heard of the proposed visitor restriction policies to be enacted by local hospitals in an effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, she knew the cancer patients we serve would be directly, and significantly, affected.
It is difficult enough to face extended stays in the hospital for weeks, even months at a time, enduring high doses of chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplants, and the myriad of side effects that go along with these life saving treatments. To be forced to face them alone while knowing there's a pandemic exploding worldwide while you're at your most vulnerable seems almost cruel.
Within the first week of visitor restrictions being placed, the Small Choices team developed the Isolation Relief Program addressing the four most pressing issues in addition to loneliness; boredom, a lack of access to outside items, lack of caregivers to do laundry, and hospital food fatigue.
We gathered volunteers from both inside and outside the hospitals to ensure we could safely deliver goods according to the CDC guidelines, utilizing hospital staff to help collect laundry and bring requested items bedside. All participants have the option to select specifically what they'd like provided each week.
Here are the results of the first three weeks of the Isolation Relief Program by the numbers:
>19 volunteers both in and out of the hospitals gathering groceries, picking up take out orders, washing laundry, and delivering items safely to the patients
>26 patients, in the hospital for 10 or more days benefitting from the program
>26 goody bags delivered containing puzzles, coloring books, hand made pillow cases, blankets, comfort squares, sleep masks, hand drawn thinking of you cards, original artwork, girl scout cookies and more per patient request
>18 loads of laundry washed and returned
>23 grocery store orders, including toiletries, fulfilled and delivered
>19 take out orders from Chipotle and Noodles & Company delivered
And the reasons why we will continue to bring some relief to those isolated in the hospitals:
"It was HEAVENLY to have food from the outside!"-Judy
"So thankful for the gifts and love!! Thank you for the support during these crazy times, it means so much to us!!"-Ciarra
"I got your bag this morning and loved everything in it! Thank you so so much for doing this it really made my day!"-Maddie
"You have made my whole stay better. I love the cards Please tell anyone involved thank you so much from me!!!"-Gerry
"The stuff you provide makes staying here so much easier"-Tim
"I have 2 patients in BMT that I added to the relief program yesterday. I can't begin to tell you how it changed their demeanor. One of them has been here for more than 100 days. I haven't seen him smile in a long time. He laughed yesterday! Thanks again for making such a huge difference. We all appreciate you!"-Jen, RN