Volunteers around the area are stepping up to make masks for clinical staff to use in their visits with hospice patients.
These hand-made fabric masks, sewn using a pattern that’s compliant with requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are effective in blocking droplets that can spread illness like the new coronavirus, Blue Ridge Hospice announced in a Tuesday news release.
Volunteers and staff from Blue Ridge Hospice are making enough washable, reusable face masks for each clinical staff member to have multiple masks to use during their daily patient care.
“We had actually seen other hospices and other health care organizations were doing it,” Annie Bradfield, chief marketing and development officer, said in a Tuesday phone call.
“It’s been an incredible show of support,” she said.
Once ensuring the masks were CDC compliant, she said Dr. Brendan Flynn, chief medical officer for Blue Ridge Hospice, jumped at the idea.
On Friday hospice approached people in the community who are good at sewing and have volunteered before, such as by sewing quilts for hospice.
“So far we’ve received 300 [masks] as of today,” Bradfield said.
“The goal has been to make sure that clinical staff is wearing one mask per patient,” she said.
Clinical staff members are instructed to change out masks between patients and wash them all at the end of each day.
Bradfield estimated about 500 should be enough and said any extras hospice doesn’t need could go to helping other organizations.
“We’re all in this together right now and everyone is having the same problems with not being able to get the PPE gear,” she said. PPE stands for personal protective equipment.
In the release, Flynn states hospice and other health care organizations are short on face masks.
“Hospital systems across the country are asking their community members who love sewing to pitch in and make hand-made, fabric face masks for clinical staff caring for patients,” he said.
Though the masks aren’t ideal, Flynn said, “In times such as these, they will provide ongoing protection if/when our surgical masks supplies become critically low.
“So many hospices across the country have no masks, so we are fortunate to have the community we do around us who want to help keep us safe.”
Besides the need for masks, Bradfield said hospice needs monetary donations to make up for lost revenue in not having its eight regional thrift stores available while people are social distancing.
“Especially at this time, we rely really heavily on thrift store revenue,” she said. “We are not receiving that revenue. That’s the hardest hit right now.”
Those who wish to donate can contact Blue Ridge Hospice at brhospice.org.