Jennifer Mau, Regional Director of Foundation Messaging and Prospect Development
The safety of our caregivers, nurses and physicians is essential, so Providence Saint Joseph has implemented a number of safety measures to protect our staff, patients and their families. This includes:
- Limiting employee and patient entry to two entrances, at both of which are posted nurses who administer health questionnaires regarding symptoms and taking peoples’ temperatures. People who have fevers above 100 are denied entry. Everyone else receives a face mask as part of our universal masking policy, as well as a colored sticker following a coding system that allows access to the medical center. Except in medical situations/procedures that require close contact, all employees, visitors and patients are expected to remain six feet apart. For patients presenting to the emergency department, we have set up tents to separate patients who may be COVID-19-positive from non-COVID patients to prevent the virus from spreading. For those patients who test positive, we have set up special units in the hospital where only COVID-positive patients and those being assessed for COVID are treated. This includes a COVID ICU and dedicated telemetry unit.
- A no-visitor policy with only limited exceptions. This was a very difficult decision and is consistent with the directive by Governor Newsom.
We have a great deal of resources available to our community through our website, including links to virtual appointments and a symptoms checker. Our Disney Family Cancer Center is offering yoga classes via Zoom and our community outreach team has assisted in purchasing groceries for elderly patients being discharged without family. Through virtual.providence.org, the community is able to have virtual visits with providers.
We have suspended non-essential surgeries, but essential surgeries continue. We continued our farmers market through the end of March as a community benefit until deciding to put it on hold through April. Foundation employees have been making personal calls to patients and donors to check in and offer support and resources, and the Foundation sends regular email updates about resources that are available to all community members. We also held virtual town halls that were recorded to send to all donors.
We have received thousands of donations of gloves, masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment (PPE). Our staff has enjoyed more than 1,500 delicious meals provided by grateful community members, including Jeff Worthe, Mario Lopez, Steven Spielberg, Ed and Murphy Romano, Steve and Charlene Papazian, Kris and Bill Amon, Chris and Greg Thorpe, Michael and Kathy Hastings, and many others. And most impactfully, we have received philanthropic support, including $100K from the Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation and a $50K matching gift from a retired Providence physician. These gifts are critical because we are spending $16,000 to $20,000 per day on PPE alone. We’ve also been approached by community members who want to provide groceries so that our caregivers don’t have to worry about stopping at the store at the end of long shifts. And a letter-writing campaign that started at Notre Dame High School has yielded beautiful missives of support for all of our caregivers — from doctors and nurses to food service and environmental workers. First responders honored our Heroes at Saint Joseph with a parade around campus, and hundreds attended.
Several Tolucan celebrities have posted on social media in support of our #HeroesatSaintJoes Fund, including Erik McCormack, Dan Fogelman and Andy Garcia. Many more Tolucans have sent hundreds of meals to our heroes, nourishing their bodies and souls. And Tolucans who have understood the need at the hospital have also sent financial support, though we have not yet gotten the word out about the tremendous costs of the crisis, which, as stated above, were up to $20K per day in PPE alone, before a surge.
Our Emergency Department is one of those hardest hit by this crisis, and the Toluca Lake community has raised nearly $5 million in the last few years to build a new Emergency Department.
Ensuring the safety of all of our patients, our caregivers and physicians has been essential. We initiated our planning very early in this process, bringing together physician and administrative leaders to implement processes that ensured we continued to provide exceptional care. New systems were put in place to protect staff and ensure an adequate supply of PPE, including masks, gloves, gowns and shields. This includes the use of iPads for communication, safety monitors and negative pressure rooms. We are also thankful for the extraordinary generosity of our community as well as being a part of Providence, a large health system, which has given us the ability to access supplies when vitally needed.
The community has beautifully demonstrated its appreciation for Saint Joe’s in all of the thoughtful ways described above and we deeply appreciate all of it. What we need most right now is funding to purchase supplies and protective equipment to make our hospital safe for patients and caregivers; thus, we need to give generously to our #HeroesatSaintJoes Fund and to help spread the word via social media, word of mouth, etc., to help raise the funds we need to keep our community safe.
Providence Saint Joseph is and will always be here for you. Thank you for being there for us. Thank you for staying home and staying safe. We are truly in this together.
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