“Where can I stay for four months that will accommodate my spouse and our three small children?”
“Can I park my car on the streets overnight or do I have to move my car in the evening?”
“I need groceries but don’t have a vehicle here, does anywhere deliver or offer a shuttle?”
“We need to enroll our daughter in preschool while we are here to keep her busy, how do we do that?”
“Its my son’s birthday, what can we do for a thirteen year old to make him special during all of this?”
“We live in town, but the workload at home is too much. I haven’t even mowed the lawn in over a month.”
“I am trying to work remotely while my wife gets treatment but the Wi-Fii at the hospital is too slow. Is there somewhere else downtown I can go to work for a few hours?”
“Today we found out my husband won’t live much longer, I want someone to take pictures of him with the kids, do you know someone that can do that with such short notice?”
These are just a small snapshot of the questions and comments Med City Foundation intake volunteers hear while talking to patients. These patients are referred to us for various reasons, financial and lodging concerns are the most common, but additional concerns and questions almost always come up. Due to the increase in referrals and complex questions from patients, our volunteers in the office were feeling like there was more we should do after our initial phone call.
Enter board members Virginia Wright-Peterson, Laura Dusso, and advisory board members, Thom Nustad and Carole Stiles. These four individuals, with various backgrounds as a therapist, pastor, social worker, and family member of a blood cancer patient, sat down, committed to finding a way to meet the growing needs of our patients.
Taking lead from other organizations that already do this so well, such as Season’s Hospice in Rochester, this hard working foursome developed a pilot program that will match volunteers with patients and their family. These volunteers, Caring Connections volunteers as we are now fondly referring to them, can stay in touch and help individuals and families navigate the community or assist in other ways depending on their needs. Sometime that can include light household chores, running errands, or just helping to troubleshoot situations as they arise.
“Our Caring Connections Volunteers can help provide respite care, staying with the patient for up to a few hours, so caregivers can take time to run errands or take a break. Or they may just check-in routinely to remind the family that we are here and can help when they need it. ” Virginia explained while introducing the program to other board members.
After unanimously approving the new program, Med City Foundation board members expressed being hopeful this pilot will expand and by this winter could potentially be able to bring on more volunteers and reach more patients.
Thank you to our volunteers and board members for being such amazing advocates for the patients we are committed to serve!