May 2020 Machias – In mid-March, Down East Community Hospital’s VP of Quality, Monique Mills, asked the DECH Auxiliary if they could provide the hospital with 50 handmade isolation gowns to be used as a backup to our personal protective equipment inventory.   The hospital and the Auxiliary agreed to split the cost of the supplies.  Kathy Land, Auxilian and Board Member, on the project, “After reviewing CDC guidelines and some discussion, we agreed to order our fabric and other supplies online from JoAnn fabrics or from Amazon.  That turned out to be easier said than done as fabric and other supplies were either out of stock, in stock and later cancelled, partially shipped, back ordered for a couple of months, etc.

Monique asked that the gowns have cuffs for the sleeves, and this also turned out to be a challenge.  Premade cuffs were out of stock as was the knit fabric with appropriate stretch and recovery.  At this point Carol Bryan came to the rescue with the idea that we use the ribbed tops of socks as cuffs for the sleeves of the gowns.  Such a clever idea and they work beautifully.

When some of the fabric was back ordered and we were unsure we would ever receive it, we decided to go ahead with what we had.  Lisa Carlisle donated fabric from her stash at home and a 94-year-old lady friend of Carol’s donated fabric because she was no longer able to sew and help make gowns.

We have finished production and was able to provide Monique with 54 gowns, thanks to the work of some dedicated Auxiliary members and friends!”

“We would like to thank the Auxiliary and all the special people who put such talent and care into making these incredible gowns; Kathy Land, Lisa Carlisle, Gail Peters, Sharon Dean, Bett Daley, Kathy Burke, Kathy Rioux, Carol Bryan and her friend. This was no small feat and we want you all to know how much this act of kindness is appreciated.” Steve Lail, President & CEO.

“It is always nice to have back up plans in place during a pandemic. The donation of these washable gowns helps to ensure we can continue to deliver care safely in a time where things are ever evolving. Protecting our staff and patients are of key importance. We understand a lot of time and creative thought was put into this project and we are grateful for this community support. It is heartwarming to know this group is always willing to help in any way that they can. The gowns are just as beautiful as their acts of kindness!”  Monique Mills, BSN, RN, CIC, Vice President of Quality/Interim CNO.

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