CHF’s Samaritan Fund helps restore dignity and provides hope and comfort for vulnerable patients during a difficult time.

13 Dec 2022

Often patients who come to hospital due to accidents and trauma require replacement clothing as theirs may be cut-off during emergency medical treatment or is ruined due to injury.

Sometimes patients present for urgent treatment without the basics they need to maintain their dignity during a hospital stay, no clean underwear, night clothes, or a toothbrush; their clothing is worn thin or beyond salvaging so support with clothing is needed for their hospital stay and for when they are discharged.

The Samaritan Clothing Program supports those patients in need with basic clothing items like pants, tops, underwear, and rubber thongs.

Many patients often have no family or support network able to bring items in, or simply don’t have replacement items available.

“The Samaritan clothing pool is an important initiative that is supported by Canberra Hospital Foundation, providing dignity and support to patients and family members who find themselves unexpectedly without clothing for either their stay in hospital or for discharge,” says Snezana, an Allied Health Assistant (AHA) within the Allied Health Division of Canberra Health Services.

Having access to the Samaritan Clothing Program provides dignity to patients, reduces stress about how they will leave hospital without clothing or shoes, reduces anxiety about how they will replace clothing for those on limited or restricted budgets and meets the Canberra Health Services values of being kind and respectful.

“The Acute Social Work Department manages the program need across all areas of Canberra Hospital and University of Canberra Hospital. The team receives many and varied requests from nursing, allied health, and medical staff, as well as through their direct patient care.

Our Administration Officer, Trish, is charged with applying for funding and purchasing of items and the Allied Health Assistants are charged with maintaining inventory and distribution of clothing as needed,” outlines Snezana.

The Samaritan funding provides the opportunity to stock a variety of sizes in men's, women's and unisex styles, and basic items such as underwear, pants, tops, warm tops and shoes or rubber thongs. A challenge faced, however, is maintaining enough items to cover a range of sizes to cater to patients requiring this service, which is unpredictable.

With over 220 items gifted through the program this year so far, the benefit for our vulnerable patients extends far beyond simply having a set of clean, dry clothes and something on your feet.

The sharing of these clothing items helps to provide hope, comfort and understanding, relieves distress and provides a level of dignity.

Although the hospital ward provides sleepwear in many instances, patients often arrive in emergency situations with clothing that is not suitable to discharge home in. Family members also sometimes arrive in similar circumstances, often experiencing financial hardships and unable to purchase clothing at short notice,” Snezana explains.

“Having no clothes can be a discharge barrier as patients are not permitted on public transport in pyjamas, nor is it dignified to travel in pyjamas.

In times of need the clothing pool can supply a set of clean and comfortable clothes to either get home in, go to rehabilitation, an aged care facility or discharging to Ronald McDonald House.

The clothing pool may be limited in options, but items are new and provide another much-needed support for Canberra Health Services patient centred care values.”

CHF’s Samaritan Fund program was developed out of necessity some years ago. With thanks to the support from our generous community, the impactful program continues to help make a difference for vulnerable patients and their hospital experience and supports the health care teams to deliver exceptional patient care.

You can help support programs such as the Samaritan Clothing Program which offers care and dignity in a simple but highly appreciated way to the vulnerable people in our community when they are facing particularly challenging times.

Help us continue our positive impact, and help the Allied Health Division keep these items available in 2023, by donating to our Appeal.

With your support we can fund a range of equipment, programs like this one, transformations and research. Ultimately we can help more patients.

Trish, Snezana and Mel from the Allied Health Division team display some of the items of essential clothing and rubber thongs available through the Samaritan Clothing Program, funded by generous donors and facilitated by the Canberra Hospital Foundation.