Leo F. Buscaglia wrote: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
STORY 1: Methodist Hospital Social Services
I would like ask for help for my patient. He is a 49 year old widowed male admitted to The Methodist Hospital with cancer. He lives in San Diego, California. He was working as an over the road truck driver when he became ill in the Houston area and was subsequently admitted. The man he was driving with left the area with the truck and he found out afterwards that his job terminated him due to his medical condition and inability to drive safely. He is planning on being discharged from the hospital tomorrow and wants to return immediately to his home in California. He has no family available to assist him so he called a friend to ask for a small amount of cash towards his bus ticket to get back home. He explains that his wife and 5 year old daughter were struck and killed by a drunk driver last Thanksgiving Day. He has since suffered from depression for which he sought counseling services through a post-traumatic stress group at the VA and a bereavement group. He has a few friends where he lives but relies mainly on himself. He expects to apply for social security disability soon. He says when he becomes too ill to care for himself, he will have to go into a hospice facility where he lives. He is asking for help in getting some funds to pay for the balance of his bus fare and for a small amount of food along the way. It will take him about 2 ½ days to go home via bus but he prefers this mode of transport since he can stop at hospitals along the way of he needs to. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Story 2: Texas Children’s Hospital
A social worker writes -
A four year old child suffering from heart failure was admitted to the hospital to await a heart transplant. His hospitalization involves IV medications which will keep him here until he receives a heart and recovers. His mother has been at his bedside every day since his admission. Her husband and children lives out of town and must carry on without her while she waits here in Houston for a chance at life for her son. The family has very limited resources, so they cannot visit often. However, they would like to come to celebrate a special occasion with the child and mother. We are requesting your assistance with travel expense to help this family come together. This will help to encourage the mother as she copes with increasing difficulty of the separation. –TMC Social Services Department
At Parkland Health & Hospital System, we’re known for having one of the most critical and destitute patient populations in the Dallas area, Texas and the nation. We are encouraged by your willingness to help us in our efforts. The parking permits that the Compassionate Touch program has recently provided are already serving Parkland patients and families. Now, a family that comes to see their loved one at Parkland can use their money previously spent on parking for other critical needs.
Historically, Parkland employees have had to “pass the hat” to raise the money to help families pay for these basic non-medical costs related to caring for someone in the hospital. With the exception of a few small funds that assist a small portion of our patient population, Compassionate Touch is the only program that helps as long as the resources are available and hospital social workers see the need for the patient.
Compassionate Touch may be able to measure the dollars spent and the number of families served, but we’re the fortunate ones at Parkland to be able to see the other immeasurable ways the patients and families benefit from their generosity. We thank you for the opportunities you’ve provided for us and our patients.
Kirk Workman, LMSW
Parkland Health & Hospital System
Social Work Manager
Acknowledgment: Texas Children’s Social Services Department
We are writing on behalf of Compassionate Touch. We are Social Workers at Texas Children’s Hospital. We utilize Compassionate Touch on a daily basis in order to help our patients and their families.
Compassionate Touch fills a vital need for our patients. The financial assistance they provide helps with expenses which families incur while their children are in the hospital or when coming to clinic appointments. These expenses include housing for out of town patients, transportation, parking and meals for a parent staying with their child in the hospital.
Compassionate Touch fills a gap for those patients who have a legitimate need and do not have any other way to get that need met. The family does not qualify for other resources, such as Medicaid’s food or housing allowance, nor do they have personal resources to cover these expenses.
Compassionate Touch and the Social Workers work hard hand-in-hand so that funds are spent wisely and the people served have true needs. Because of Compassionate Touch’s support, many parents are able to stay with their young children in the hospital without fear of how they will pay for parking or feed themselves. As Social Workers who frequently run out of community resources to help our patients and their families, Compassionate Touch is our Lifesaver.
Many Thanks to All of You,
Texas Children’s Hospital Social Workers- Texas Medical Center
Acknowledgment: Methodist Liver Transplant Team
On behalf of the Methodist Hospital Liver Transplant Team, I wish to thank you for your assistance with lodging and parking for a number of the liver transplant patients. Your timely responsiveness to the social workers’ requests and willingness to assist a number of patients is most appreciated.
Liver Transplant patients often need to stay within a short distance of the Methodist Hospital during the transplant evaluation process and after transplant and discharge. This is often financially impossible for a number of the patients who have extensive out of pocket expenses related to transplant.
Philip Seu, M.D.
Director, Liver Transplant Center