Sentara in the Community

Protecting Staff and Vulnerable Patients 

To amass and secure an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), the hospital established and managed a dedicated PPE repository, which involves the careful distribution of PPE, adjusting PPE best practices, and adopting new procedures for cleaning and recycling PPE.

Community support of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund has allowed the Foundation to purchase three LUCAS devices—one for the freestanding Emergency Department (ED), one for the main ED and one for the Intensive Care Unit. These machines allow first responders to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on coding patients in an era when healthcare workers cannot manually perform CPR on potential COVID-19 patients. On the first day the LUCAS device was introduced to the ED, the team used it to save the life of a man experiencing a heart attack.

Companies with 3D-printing capabilities, including Vistaprint and Klockner Pentaplast, stepped forward with donations of more than 1,000 face shields and headbands—PPE items that were highly scarce during the peak of the pandemic. Precious hand sanitizer also was donated, including a 200-liter drum from the Virginia Distillery Co. in Lovingston.

The Foundation also spearheaded a drive to encourage community members to donate homemade face masks. Nearly 1,000 hand-sewn face masks have been contributed so far, with distribution of these masks prioritized to patients at the Phillips Cancer Center. This initiative not only preserved PPE for staff, but also helped to protect immunocompromised cancer patients, who come in frequently for treatment. Members of The Women’s Committee (TWC) of the Foundation played a significant role in this effort, including TWC board member Beth Fraser, who made more than 125 masks herself.

“The Women’s Committee has always had the mission of contributing wherever help is needed most—and when this need arose, we were ready to do something,” Fraser says. “Above all, the Cancer Center prioritizes the safety and protection of its patients, both when they are at the hospital and in the community. To be able to help these patients is a godsend because it keeps me busy and purposeful at the same time.” 

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