Gently used items help patients in need

Gently used items help patients in need

For Ruth Locis, being a healthcare provider means caring for patients in many different ways. Sometimes, it even means offering up a spare couch.

Recently, Ruth was browsing the classifieds section on the Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) Intranet when one particular post caught her eye. It was an ad seeking a used couch for a patient in need.
Thinking to the spare couch sitting in her basement, Ruth responded to the ad right away.

“I’m fortunate to have some items on hand that I no longer have use for, “ says Ruth. “It makes me feel good knowing that it’s going to someone who needs it.”

Tracy Dos Santos and Stacey Baird were on the receiving end of Ruth’s e-mail. They had placed the classifieds ad in hopes that they could find a gently used couch for a patient who had recently moved in to a new apartment. He loves to watch TV, but had no furniture to sit on.

HHS staff member Ruth, pictured, has donated several gently used items to help patients in need.
Ruth Locis, who works at the Juravinski Cancer Cantre, has donated several gently-used items to Hamilton Health Sciences patients in need.

Tracy and Stacey work with the Hamilton Health Sciences Outreach team, which partners with patients in their homes to identify their health needs and connect them to the right care and resources to help them achieve their goals. Typically, the Outreach Team’s patients have multiple health conditions, few social supports, limited finances, and visit the hospital often.

“Within minutes, we had a response. It blew my mind.”

Tracy, Stacey and their fellow Outreach team members started soliciting donations on the staff classifieds when they realized what a big difference everyday items – like cookware, bed sheets, furniture, or small appliances – made in the lives of their patients, who often find themselves without the basic necessities. When they first came up with the idea, they had no idea what to expect. Soon after posting their first ad, they were shocked.

“Within minutes, we had a response,” says Tracy. “It blew my mind.”

Since then, HHS staff have donated dozens of much-needed items to Outreach patients. Tracy offers up her truck to deliver larger items, with occasional support from St. Vincent de Paul, a local non-profit that supports community members in need.

“We need to provide care beyond our walls,” says Ruth. “Opportunities like this give us a chance to show just how much we care for our patients.”

And for Antonio, who gave Ruth’s couch a loving new home, the smile on his face says it all.