Canberra community sharing the care for health workers and patients

Generous Canberrans and local businesses are being urged to get behind a Canberra Hospital Foundation campaign to make sure that donations arriving at health care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic are appropriate and reach frontline workers in need of support and recognition.

The #CHFCareShare campaign has been set up to support and encourage community engagement, facilitate suitable donations for hard-working health professionals, nurture the spirits of patients, and raise funds for vital services and equipment.

It will encourage donations that will provide comfort and relief for health teams and patients, while abiding by infection control and physical distancing measures currently in place.

The Foundation suggests the following high priority items are what’s needed most:

  • good quality coffee and tea
  • entertainment gift cards - Google Play, Netflix, the App Store & iTunes
  • restaurant and meal kit vouchers
  • personal care items
  • new, sealed puzzles, board games and magazines

CHF CEO Helen Falla says donations have already been coming in and have been most gratefully received.

“However, we want to guide the community on the most wanted items and how they can share their support and care in a way that keeps staff safe and ensures everyone receives their share of the thanks,” Ms Falla said.

“Unfortunately, handcrafted items, home baked goods and home-cooked meals cannot be donated at this time due to infection control protocols.”

Ms Falla says the Foundation is working closely with heath service areas including Canberra Hospital, University of Canberra Hospital and the Walk-in Centres, to coordinate donations that will help provide moments of relief and recognition for health teams and their patients.

“The role of the Foundation is to empower the community to help in the ways that they can to ease the suffering of patients and to help them get the best care available,” Ms Falla said.

“We are also mindful of the need to support our tremendous frontline health care workers during this extraordinary pandemic,” she said.

Among the businesses to have made donations so far is takeaway favourite Brodburger, which recently provided meal hampers to all of Canberra’s Walk-in Centres. Co-owner Joelle Brodbeck says their hampers were a way of saying ‘thank you’.

“We want to support health care workers because they are on the frontline of this pandemic. They're the ones risking their own health and spending time away from their loved ones to look after everyone,” Ms Brodbeck said.

“We’re urging local businesses to get on board. It's very important to reach out to the community in time of need – like a lot of businesses did during the bushfires! We think this is just as important a time. Knowing that you can boost the morale of these amazing humans is a reward on its own.”

Health professionals at the frontline are most grateful for the community support.

Nicole Slater, Assistant Director of Nursing in the Emergency Department at the Canberra Hospital, says the donated meals have been “fantastic”.

“The fact that the community are thinking about the staff makes coming to work more special,” she said.

Professor Jane Dahlstrom, Executive Director, ACT Pathology, says staff have been overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness of the community.

“So often pathology is regarded as the “black box” of medicine – it is nice the community appreciates what we do does make a difference. We have truly felt valued and appreciated for our contributions towards patient care,” she said.

To find out how you can share the care, read more here.