A Key to Healing

Once a patient is discharged from the hospital, Franciscan Health’s mission of compassionate concern doesn’t end. Whether it’s not being able to pay for medicine, or an inability to access basic needs at home, the Franciscan Health Foundation’s Patient Assistance Fund is a helping hand when it’s most needed.

Karen Yates, who recently retired after serving 20 years as director of mission integration and volunteer services at Franciscan Health, says donations to the Patient Assistance Fund go directly to those who need the help the most. 

“There’s so many of us that take things for granted because we have the ability to take care of our basic needs – food, shelter and medication – and we don’t know what it’s like to not have those things,” Yates said.

Most often, help is needed to pay for medication a patient is prescribed upon discharge. “I get a call from the case manager or the nurse and they will tell me what the physician is prescribing that the patient can’t fill.” Yates said. “We want them to have everything the doctor says they need to have to improve their health.”

Often, patients might need clothes if their own clothes had to be cut off during emergency treatment, or they might not have warm clothing or a coat during winter. The fund helps keep a clothing room stocked with casual-type clothing for these patients.

Sometimes the needs are unexpected. Yates said a recent patient was recovering from a serious illness but didn’t have a refrigerator at home. He didn’t want a refrigerator to be bought for him, but there was concern he wasn’t getting proper nutrition. The Patient Assistance Fund provided groceries for several weeks and staff brought him a cooler. “We had a specific employee who would go buy ice and keep putting fresh ice in the cooler, which was on the man’s porch,” Yates said.

In other instances, the Patient Assistance Fund has paid the utility bill to restore power for patients who had medical equipment that required electricity and purchased a bed for a patient on oxygen without a proper place to sleep.

“The money that is donated to the fund is a way for us to address the many, many issues that we see with our patients. And none of us know when we might be in that position,” Yates said.

Compassionate concern does not end when patient is discharged thanks to the Patient Assistance Fund.