Festival of Trees: Holiday Joy with a Lasting Legacy

243-0336 FOT Logo_ver3Thanks to the sponsors, donors and attendees of last year’s festival, the Memorial Medical Center Foundation was able to grant funds to several area programs. We introduced you to two of those programs and studies last week. Now, learn about two more programs benefitting from the festivities enjoyed every year at Memorial’s Festival of Trees.

Funds to Enhance Patient Comfort

Memorial’s inpatient psychiatric patients benefitted from a Foundation grant in the form of a Comfort Room. The room is a park-like setting, with plants, photos of outdoor images, aromatherapy and more to create a calming, healing space for patients, says Tamsyn Weaver, RN, 5A/G. While geared toward patients with dementia, the room is also being used to help de-stimulate anyone on the unit who is feeling anxious or depressed, Weaver said.

“Our unit can be busy and pretty stimulating at times,” she said, “so patients enjoy having this sanctuary.”

By helping to decrease agitation in dementia patients, it’s possible to decrease their length of stay and use of unscheduled medication, as well as improve patient and family satisfaction, said Lorna Scoggins, RN-BC, MSN, nurse manager, Adult Psychiatry. “We also expect this to be good for staff satisfaction,” she said. “It’s empowering to be able to have some autonomy and offer innovative treatment for their patients.”

Funds to Provide Community Aid

 Another local grant recipient was the Elizabeth Ann Seton Program, a nonprofit, faith-based organization that works with pregnant women and mothers in need. The program works with these mothers to set goals and to fulfill any emergency needs, such as homelessness, domestic violence, job seeking and depression, among others, throughout the course of motherhood.

“We do not turn any mother away, regardless of the age of her children,” said Dawn Morris, executive director of the Elizabeth Ann Seton Program.  “We have actually found that most women need support when her child is older.”

The program works on a point system. Participating mothers have several ways to earn points, such as going to school, meeting with the EAS coordinator and attending parenting classes. With the points they can get diapers, wipes, bus passes, laundry vouchers, even birthday gifts for their children. Explains Morris, “EAS is a hand up, not a handout.”

With the funds from the Memorial grant, the program launched its Healthy EAS Families Program, providing nutrition, fitness, healthcare and support to participating families, and includes diabetes testing and classes on how to eat healthy on a budget. They even trained and completed two 5k races.

“Watching our clients not only become healthier, but build on their self-esteem, has been amazing,” Morris said.

Visit Memorial’s Festival of Trees for information about this year’s event. And, if you can’t make it to the Festival of Trees this year, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Foundation to support healthcare initiatives like these in our community.