The SSM Health URGENT RESPONSE FUND provides a fast, efficient way to deliver immediate resources to SSM Health experts. From providing essential health care needs to supporting employee relief efforts, donations are being put to good use—and quickly. Already, we have seen the impact.

When an anonymous donor selflessly gave $8000 to the Urgent Response Fund for the purchase of iPads on COVID-19 units, they had no idea their contribution would save lives. Erin Muth, the donor and grateful patient’s daughter, maintains it was the Facetime communications she was able to have with her father that helped him recover from the Coronavirus. In fact, she was so inspired by the power of this technology that she went on to raise $10,000 for the SSM Health Foundation to purchase iPad minis to distribute to all ministries. Find out more about her story here:

When Tom Bushlack, Ph.D., Regional Director of Mission Integration for SSM Health St. Louis began researching moral distress prevalent among health care providers, he came across Schwartz Rounds—grand rounds style events that focus on a case or a theme related to the emotional impact of patient care that care team members experience. Recognizing that moral distress was a key component of caregiver burnout, and all-too-aware that health care crisis situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbate caregiver burnout, he felt compelled to bring the Schwartz Rounds concept to SSM healthcare system. “I wanted to support the caregivers during this time of extreme stress,” he shared. The SSM Health Foundation’s Urgent Response Fund will fund 20 SSM employees system-wide to be trained in this method and one year of system-wide membership to allow the ministries to offer Schwartz Rounds. This unique methodology will contribute to the wellbeing of providers and allow for the processing of complex emotions during difficult times in health care.

Surgical scrubs are probably the most recognizable identifier of a health care professional—and during COVID-19, the fastest way to recognize a frontline caregiver. In non-pandemic times, some providers arrive and return to work in scrubs that they launder at home. Due to the extreme contamination and concern surrounding COVID-19, additional sets of scrubs are necessary to promote the health and safety of our providers and their families. A nursing leader came to SSM Health Foundation – St. Louis requesting the purchase of additional scrubs so that caregivers could change out of their clothing and into hospital-provided scrubs for their shift, then change out of the contaminated scrubs at the hospital and wear their own clothing home. Contaminated scrubs would be left at the hospital and laundered onsite. Providing additional scrubs to frontline providers lowers the risk of COVID-19 spread, protects families of these caregivers, and reduces stress and anxiety regarding potential contamination. These requests, and others like them, are exactly why the Urgent Response Fund was created! SSM Health St. Louis’s Urgent Response Fund provided 5,000 sets of scrubs for frontline health care providers in the SSM Health St. Louis network. With additional sets of scrubs comes enhanced protection for our community members and additional peace of mind.

SSM Health Foundation – St. Louis Board Members wanted to express their deep appreciation for frontline caregivers at SSM Health. They rolled up their shirt sleeves to assemble and deliver over 1,100 Essentials for the Essentials care packages for health caregivers who sacrifice day in and day out to care for our loved ones during the pandemic in our communities and across the region. The care packages included a gift card from Schnucks Markets. a prayer card, and a Kind bar — nourishment for the body, mind and soul and a little kindness during this time of uncertainty. The care packages were made possible by the generosity of benefactors, corporations and foundations through support of SSM Health and the SSM Health Urgent Response Fund. Members of the Board and executive team share their gratitude in this beautiful Board Member Gratitude video.