Answering the call to serve during the COVID-19 crisis

This article was written by Melanie Hao, real estate manager for Providence Health.

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Southern California has resulted in an urgent need for volunteers to support non-clinical functions at impacted locations. When Chief Executive of Providence Southern California Eric Wexler put out the urgent call to help care facilities in crisis, I knew I had to go work alongside my Providence colleagues.

The view from the frontline of COVID-19

I saw firsthand what many people can only imagine was happening at our care facilities in Southern California. Two things stood out to me. One, we have an exceptional group of caregivers who are working tirelessly in both clinical and non-clinical settings to serve patients, especially the poor and vulnerable. And, two, we have some very sick COVID-19 patients looking for us to ease their way.

While volunteers could choose from over 1,257 shifts in different capacities, I chose to work in the COVID-19 ER registration at St. Joseph Hospital Orange.

The COVID-19 ER was set up in the former cancer unit near the emergency department. My duties consisted of registering patients and providing blankets and water as needed.

The patient access team and clinical caregivers were very helpful and appreciated the volunteers that were providing much-needed support.

During each shift, I saw long lines and worked in several processing areas for the inordinate number of COVID-19 patients who each showed varying degrees of symptoms. The staff was quick to respond, and even though in those first days we were facing a shortage of oxygen, the care teams somehow made sure patients received the care they needed. 

Being part of the solution

Erik Wexler said: “We must all work in solidarity to help our locations during these challenging times.” And, I was very happy to play a small part of this effort, not only to support our patients, but also to provide relief to the frontline caregivers.

Providence and its caregivers are working tirelessly each day to fight COVID-19. If you are able, we invite you to donate to any of several areas in need:

  • COVID-19 response: Support poor and vulnerable persons, our efforts to obtain and produce personal protective equipment and offset treatment costs for the pandemic.
  • Research: Significant data analysis and research is underway to understand the virus.
  • Helping Hands Fund: For Providence employees who are financially affected by this crisis.

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