Caregivers at Sanford USD Medical Center tend to a COVID patient.

Donor support impacts COVID patients

February 24, 2021

Over the last year, countless caregivers have stepped up in unexpected and inspiring ways. You’ve been by their side, fueling this incredible work when our community needed it most.

Here are just a few ways donor support extended the continuum of care for COVID patients of all ages:


Emotional support

Members of the Child Life team, typically dedicated to supporting pediatric patients and families, made special efforts to comfort adult COVID patients.

Simple acts like painting fingernails and reading books gave emotional support to COVID patients who couldn’t receive visitors. Specialists provided end-of-life emotional support to patients during their last moments. They called family members after a patient passed away and reassured children of their parent’s love.

“It was such a privilege to sit with patients who were alone and missed their loved ones terribly as they were not allowed to visit,” said Child Life Specialist Shawni Jones. “I sat with one gentleman who was feeling anxious as he was having trouble breathing and understandably pushing his call light on multiple times throughout the day. Even when I wasn’t talking and just sitting with him, he expressed so much appreciation simply because I was there.

“This illness is so isolating, and I am so grateful I could be a calming and encouraging presence for patients and staff in seeing them throughout this difficult time.”

“We often heard how lonely or depressed these adult patients were so we would find creative ways to boost their spirits,” said Child Life Specialist Kayla Van Wyk. “I can even recall a day of painting an elderly patient’s nails to keep her hands from pulling at her tubes and then reading her a novel just to offer her some human contact during her hospital stay.

“Seeing how tirelessly our adult colleagues have worked to bring the best care to their patients made our team want to do our part and help out during the pandemic.”

The Child Life program is made possible by donor dollars. Patients never see a bill for this service.


Expert equipment

Ventilators and other cardio-respiratory equipment purchased through donor support were pulled to the COVID units allowing Sanford to care for more patients in need.


Direct assistance for families

From March to June 2020, the need for hotel stays grew exponentially. Given visitor restrictions at the hospital as well as the local Ronald McDonald House, many families with hospitalized children needed to find lodging.

Thanks to generous support from donors, we were able to expand assistance to these families, funding 367 nights at nearby Valley Inn Hotel over just six months. The year before, only 36 nights in hotel rooms were funded in the same time period.


Needs of tomorrow

We never know what tomorrow will bring. Your support has the power to help our Sanford caregivers rise to meet the needs of our community.

Please consider a gift today.