Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February Assistance Noted - March Planning Active!

Infant Car Seat Project making a difference

The following note was received on February 23rd, the day after delivering two more infant car seats to the UVA Social Work Office.  IHS  has delivered eight (8) infant car seats since beginning the "Baby Program" in December. Social Worker EB wrote,

"I  gave out two car seats this week to women with very difficult situations. They were both very appreciative. One was brought to tears. She had been so worried about not having a way to get some of the things they need. I am very judicious about car seats, as I want patients to be responsible for their own as much as possible. I had two situations in this one week in which it felt really good to have car seats to offer. Thanks so much.  EB"

Cosco Senera Baby Car Seat product image
Cosco Scenera seat, a truly reasonable investment
A Big Thanks to Dorel Juvenile Group (DJG)

Daniel Dias, with the DJG Institutional Sales Team in Foxboro, MA sent IHS  six(6)  FREE Cosco Scenera infant car seats, which arrived by Federal Express on February 20th.  DJG does not have an official grant program, and mostly only donates to a local Safe Kids Coalition; however, Daniel said he would ship 6 seats to help our efforts.  NOW  we have those six seats in storage just as we gave out the first seats donated by friends of IHS.  Thusfar, thanks to the DJG donation, we have now obtained 14 seats.  Thanks to Daniel for his quick response!

Infant Clothing Receipt last week for Baby Program

Another objective is to keep enough infant clothing on hand for these same infants when they leave the hospital.  Dawn Cleveland of Ivy, Virginia provided three boxes containing over 140 baby clothing items.  Thanks Dawn for this sizable contribution. 

Notes from Margaret Gorman 
Western Albemarle High School
Western Albemarle High School
The Key Club at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, Virginia assembled 50 full day meal packets at their meeting on Thursday, February 16th. The club received donations for this activity from Harris Teeter Grocery Store (Crozet), and from the Great Value Grocery Store (Crozet) and Sam's Club in Charlottesville. Club members also brought in items for the meal packets.

This service project was organized by Key Club member Angela Li. We are very grateful to the students in the club and to the other Western Albemarle High School students who came to the club meeting to help assemble the packets. Your concern and actions mean a lot to the people at the University of Virginia Medical Center who received your support. Thank you.

Louisa Cub Scouts Gearing up for March Food Assembly Session
Notes from Louisa, VA by Tina Schweikart

On March 27th Louisa Cub Scout Pack 183 and Louisa Boy Scout Troop 3 will combine their efforts to assemble full-day meal packets for the Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum (IHS) Food Program for caregivers and families who come to the UVA Medical Center with patients from long distances without adequate funds for eating.

Twice yearly in March and October, Pack 183 hosts an "assembly line" production to collect and assemble meal packets for IHS. Each time, one local Boy Scout Troop joins the effort.  Cub Scout Pack 183 is lead by Pack Master Jim Snider which currently has 59 boys registered.  Troop 3 is lead by Troop Master Harry Quarles, and is a long standing troop in Louisa.  The boys and their families meet at the Louisa Baptist Church in Louisa, Virginia  at 6:30PM.

Meal Packets consist of healthy options for breakfast, lunch & dinner, as well as snacks and side dishes.  Each item is "ready to eat" or requires only hot water or a microwave to prepare. For a detailed list for review and download, visit the IHS website Food Program page. Then after reading about the program, click on the link for the handout.   

If you wish to contribute to meal collections, or for more information on our combined scout efforts in Louisa,  please contact Tina Schweikart, Bear Cub Leader with Pack 183 at  jtschweikart@aol.com  or 540-894-9854.  Thanks so much!


Sincerely ... T. Wade 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some Points of Clarification ... Well Worth Repeating

UVA Medical Center is one of two Virginia Hospitals offering state-supported opportunities to those often referred to as Pay Grade One (indigent category). This institution is also a major center for a vast number of specialists in every medical discipline who can offer diagnosis and treatment not possible in vast numbers of towns and communities in the State of Virginia.

Vikki Bravo, a Clinical Social Worker in the UVA Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center (ECCCC),  offered this comment last year, and it is still  relevant today:
"We work with many indigent patients, who even if they receive discounted or free care, cannot afford the expenses of lodging, food, gas." She added, "Sometimes they can stay at our Hospitality House, but if there are no openings, or they have children under 18, they need to stay in hotels. We are fortunate that the University of Virginia has a state-supported discount system, but if a person can't afford to get here or stay (and eat) overnight, then all the other benefits don't help."
How far are patients traveling to secure this lifeline at UVA Medical Center?

Picture of UVA Emily Couric Cancer Center facade
UVA Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center
When we speak of lodging assistance for people coming from a "distance," many people don't realize how far these patients must travel for medical assistance which is only provided to them in Charlottesville. Once again, planning for that decision for vital treatment so far from home presents a tremendous challenge for families already under water financially.  

We reviewed just the last 45 days for a partial list of those hometowns of patients, with the majority being served in the UVA Hospital's Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center.  This sampling of distances included Danville, VA (138 miles);  Freis, VA (197 miles); Jewell Ridge, VA (266 miles); Ransom, WV (157 miles); Springfield, VA (105 miles); Coal City, WV (200 miles); Alexandria, VA (112 miles), etc.  The average distance was 176 miles one way for fifteen (15) patients and families which IHS assisted with lodging in this 6 week period.
Most  of these patients, already experiencing very real limitations, are driven by a caregiver. Others arrive alone via a Medicaid vehicle or commercial bus. A few long term cases actually must bring a child with them when no one is in their life to assist. Appointments are critical to their well-being, and many do repeat visits.  

Almost three years dedicated to 24/7 contact for UVA Medical Center Social Workers

IHS activated an open line for the UVA Social Staff in April 2009. The objective was to have one dependable charity which would respond with temporary assistance for lodging, food, and overnight emergency co-pay and prescriptions. It is an understatement to say that this can be a challenge for a few people available solely as volunteers every day and night of the year. However, we have managed to balance personal lives to stay at the task.
The Full-day Meal Packet Program Assures that No Caregiver Goes Hungry

Thanks to Margaret Gorman's wonderful involvement with IHS in late 2008, beginning with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church Sunday School classes, she engaged other churches, Boy and Girl Scout Troops, and even neighborhood groups to make full-day meal packets. These meals are placed  in the UVA Medical Center Social Office every two weeks to serve those caregivers without proper nourishment stranded with patients.

Food Program is on-going in 2012 ... and always in need of active participation

Aerial view of Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church
Margaret's TJMC UU Church just delivered another 52 meals from the Youth Group assembly session on January 22nd.  Thanks to  Morgan, Emily, Esther, Jarad, Patrick, and their leaders Amy, Carrie and John.  The Church's Religious Education Program is presently involved in another assembly session to provide another 100 full day meals in February.  

A belated mention goes out to Boy Scout Troop 36, which meets at Charlottesville's First Methodist Church.  Back in late December, Troop Leader Don Kimpel, delivered 50 meal packets which were collected for use in January.  

As a Final Reminder ... Where to Find Details for Participating and Making Meal Packets!

The menu options are expanding on the website Home Page by clicking onto http://www.interfaithhumanitariansanctum.org,  which says "Welcome."  
Across the top of the Welcome page is the designation: Food Program. This offers a full description of the Meal Packet Program and the food program for the UVA Hospitality House. There is now a link in the Meal Packet Program on one page for down-load which describes the program, how one can be involved and a complete list of potential items to include in making a gallon size zip lock package.  Whether a family, class, club or scout troop ... the objective is still 250 meal packets monthly to meet present needs.  We would truly appreciate your involvement.


Sincerely ... T. Wade 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Please Read What the Doctor said, and More ...

February is off to an active start, especially for lodging assistance for indigent patients staying for up to 30 days at UVA Auxiliary Hospitality House (HH).  Chemotherapy treatment can take many days, and although an exceptional room rate is allowed for these distance patients, their personal funds simply can't sustain them. Also, you will be pleased to know that our every other week food delivery to HH is so appreciated. I know it is, since Mary Jackson, Manager, tells us weekly.

Response from Dr. Douglas Willson, UVA Children's Hospital

Following the last e-mail and blog entry regarding the support of children in the UVA Hospital, Teresa Bevins,  Clinical social worker in PICU and 7 Central at the UVA Hospital (and the Social Work  coordinator with IHS  for our patient and caregiver programs), received the following letter.  It is a delight to share it with you.

From Douglas F. Willson, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology
           UVA Children's Hospital, Division of Pediatric Critical Care
           UVA Health Services System, Charlottesville, Virginia

Re: Car seats for children

Dear Teresa,

I couldn't be more supportive of your project to get car seats for children. I've been practicing Pediatric Critical Care now for 30 years and over that time I have seen a steady decrease in the numbers and severity of infants injured in motor vehicle accidents. While some of this comes undoubtedly from safer cars, much of it is attributable to effective car seats. Even with safer cars, an infant not secured in an effective car seat becomes a projectile. Because of their relatively heavier heads and lack of muscle strength the most common injuries we see are severe brain trauma and spine injuries. These are tragic. It is the old adage about, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  I've often thought that for the cost of providing care - often long term care - for one infant injured because he/she was not securely fastened in a car seat we could supply every infant in Charlottesville and surrounding counties with a car seat for the next decade. This, of course, ignores the human tragedy.
I believe that the ability to provide care to injured and other critically ill children is very important to society. However, if the choice were between preventive efforts such as car seats and support for critical care, preventive efforts would be my priority. No child should ever be in a moving automobile without being securely and safely restrained. For infants this means a quality car seat appropriately installed. I would ask that along with providing the car seat the parent(s) be instructed how to install the seat.
My kids are older now (and always wear their seatbelts), but they were ALWAYS in a car seat while in the car when they were little. I remember one time pulling out of the driveway and my daughter had not yet buckled herself in. She became hysterical, crying, "I'm not in my car seat!" That should tell you how much I stressed to my kids that this was important. They got the message.

Please let me know if there is anything more I can do to support you in this endeavor. This is a great thing you are trying to do and I commend you for your efforts.

Doug Willson, UVA Children's Hospital (ORIGINAL WAS SIGNED)

Quick Update on Baby Program

As of January 30, 2012, this past Monday, IHS has delivered four (4) new infant car seats. As of February 3, 2012 (Thursday) we purchased four(4) additional seats to be delivered as needed for Teresa Bevins to keep in the Social Work Office for use by all Pediatric Clinics for indigent families in need at the time of their infant's release.

A consistent helper, UVA Hospital Loading Dock Manager, Jimmie Glasgow, assists Teresa Bevins, Clincal Social Worker, and monitor for the IHS Food Program and Baby Program with delivery of new infant car seats delivered as needed by Rev. T. Wade Clegg III of IHS. Mr. Glasgow has responded enthusiastically with stacking bi-monthly full-day meal boxes onto dollies for transport to the Social Work Office for the last year, and secured parking when school visits were arranged for children to visit Ms. Bevins for briefings.  

Our objective for 2012 is still thirty (30) seats, and of course infant clothing (new or not so new for ages 3 -36 months); therefore, any individual, business, church, school, class or club, etc. can donate $35.00 and  dedicate that donation for the Baby Program.  IHS will purchase a new infant car seat and deliver to the UVA Hospital as the calls dictate the need.  We will always deliver two seats at a time in order to have an extra seat readily available.
Remember - for more details on the program, refer to the blog entry of January 20, 2012. If this present article is already on the blog by the time you are reading Dr. Willson's letter, then click on the blog site and scroll on down to that introduction to the IHS Baby Program.  The charity blog site is http://www.interfaithsanctum.blogspot.com

Sincerely ... T. Wade