Good Samaritan Implements Comfort Care for Nurses

When the Pandemic began back in March of 2020, Multicare named Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup as their Covid 19 Hospital. The Good Sam team jumped into overdrive led by then Executive Director of Operations, Kristi Hartway. “We opened up an Incident Command Center immediately and began dealing with challenges from a lack of PPE and flipping existing units, to how to best keep our staff and patients safe,” said Hartway.

As the Pandemic progressed, so did the needs of the hospital and Hartway made the switch to Chief Nurse Executive to align with her experience and her passion. That progression also led Hartway to the conclusion that the hospital’s front-line workers needed support emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

According to Hartway, “The community has been tremendous in their support bringing food and good wishes, one patient even paid to name a star the ICU Healthcare Heroes.”

But in August, as the 5th Covid wave was taking its toll on the nursing staff, Hartway borrowed a page from the Comfort Program in the Palliative Care Unit. The hospital took their existing comfort therapies program which traditionally relieved suffering for patients and used similar tactics to help staff.

First, there was a harpist that came in and played for staff every week. The soothing atmosphere changed the whole mood. Emails from staff confirmed her instincts, so Hartway began to implement other relaxation methods including massage and aroma therapy. A quick 15-minute chair massage or hand massage can be just what a nurse needs to keep going during a grueling 12-hour shift.

Next up for the Comfort Program is to create a Serenity or Reflection room for staff to go to when they need time to regroup after something difficult has occurred.

Hartway passionately encourages others through her actions and her words. She said, “We will take it day by day and continue to be hopeful. We have the vision to get through this.”

Good Samaritan Hospital is in Puyallup. If you’d like to take part in supporting their nursing staff’s comfort program, visit Lynn Castle

Toscanos Responds to Challenges with Renewed Community Involvement

During the winter when restaurant dining rooms were shut down because of COVID, Toscanos Italian Grill in Puyallup, like other restaurants, began to serve family-style, takeout and curbside meals. This became a successful formula for keeping the business going and its staff employed. Toscanos also began a practice of giving back to the community by preparing meals for local healthcare workers and first responders.

The challenging years of 2020 and 2021 brought many changes to Toscanos. But through all that change, the restaurant has rekindled its core belief in supporting the community. After an extensive renovation, Toscanos reopened its dining room and bar in the spring. Soon their sun-splashed patio reopened and things seemed to be returning to something like normal. But as summer continued, the stress and pressure placed on understaffed healthcare workers mounted. Toscanos responded with more meals for these heroes. And on Labor Day, to honor their 17th anniversary, Toscanos provided lunch for the entire staff at Good Samaritan Hospital.

After a conversation with Good Samaritan’s leadership, the Toscanos ownership and management team felt and heard the struggles of local healthcare workers that they still need the community’s support. The hospital staff is exhausted both physically and emotionally and they really need to know that the community is behind them. To answer this need, Toscanos will be providing individual meals to the healthcare workers at Good Samaritan Hospital Christmas week 2021.

Toscanos dining room, bar and even business model may have changed during this past pandemic year but the restaurant’s unwavering commitment to the community has only grown stronger.

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Code Lavender: Caring for our Caregivers

Caring for the community during a pandemic can take a toll on frontline and other essential health care heroes.

“There were days when you just wanted to cry, because these patients that you work so hard on to get them better, they weren’t going to get better,” Heidi Strub, RT, at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital, shares.

“It was not difficult just emotionally, it was draining physically,” Max Ceban, RT, at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital, adds. “It’s a dark memory in my life.”

It is because of this very reason that MultiCare has created the Code Lavender program to provide mental health and emotional support for health care workers.

Code Lavender is a donor-powered program that began in 2016 to provide peer-to-peer incident stress management following a traumatic event. Led by a team of physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers and mental health counselors, Code Lavender offers debriefings, educational presentations, reflection rounds and spiritual care to help employees reduce stress and avoid burnout.

“People will share their heart for a minute, and then they go back to being brave, back into that role of being a hero,” MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital Chaplain, Jim Cornwell, says. Code Lavender is important for “sitting beside and being there in the little windows when they just need to process something.”

Today, Code Lavender has grown to include a 24/7 employee support hotline and twice-weekly virtual leadership roundtables to talk through challenges and strategize for success.

Gifts through the MultiCare Health Foundation help Code Lavender expand even further. Donations will help broaden educational, psychological and spiritual resources and extend the program’s geographical reach to MultiCare employees serving in the Inland Northwest.

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MultiCare Health System


Cascade Regional Blood Celebrates 75 Yrs

For 75 years, Cascade Regional Blood Services (CRBS) has been supplying lifesaving blood products and therapeutic procedures to patients in South King, Pierce and Grays Harbor Counties. Their mission to provide a constant, safe, cost-effective supply of blood, blood components, and other related services to the communities has not changed in over seven decades.

According to Candy Morrison, Director of Communications for Cascade Regional Blood Services, “We owe so much to the generosity of the donors within Pierce County and South King County who help us supply all the blood products for the MultiCare Health System. This community has kept us going all these years through neighbors helping neighbors.”

Every two seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion in the United States, so the demand is high, yet only 5% of eligible donors donate blood. Today, Cascade Regional Blood Services has three donor centers located in Federal Way, Puyallup, and Tacoma. CRBS also has three self-contained, custom ‘bloodmobiles’ set up at schools, businesses, places of worship, and community events to conduct blood drives. With over 1,000 blood drives a year, their teams are always on the move. And with their growing research programs, CRBS continues to work with local and national medical programs to advance preventative care.

Cascade Regional Blood Services is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 independent community blood center that is an FDA licensed biological manufacturing facility.

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Cascade Regional Blood Services