“It’s hard watching some of our patients leaving our care without the basics, like a toothbrush or even socks,” says medical assistant Jessica S. of Salem Health’s Trauma and Acute Care Surgery clinic.
The TRACS team — led by trauma surgeon Nicole VanDerHeyden, MD — did something about that. They went shopping and bought:
- Lip balm
- Baby wipes
- Granola bars
- Bottled water
- Beanie hats
- Trail mix
- Emergency blankets
- Pet food (donated by Nature’s Pet Market)
The team also created a list of agencies, charities and resources for more help.
“Many of our patients live below the poverty line, so we’ve learned what items they need the most,” Jessica said. (She admits to being an avid “couponer” and loves finding deals.)
The TRACS team, part of the Salem Health Medical Group, stuffed supplies into handy plastic bags that can be tucked into patients’ bags or backpacks, protected from the rain. About 20 clinic care kits (different for men and women) are now waiting for patients when they’re discharged. The patients often go to shelters or back to the streets of Salem where they’ve been struggling to live.
Underserved patients are identified discretely through their discharge summaries, so they’ll be asked by TRACS clinicians and providers “if they’d like some supplies” when they leave the hospital or clinic.
TRACS hopes to keep things in stock to continue the care kits when they run low — so donations are welcomed. Call 503-561-2448 to find out more.