There’s no doubt about it: 2021 was a year unlike any other. As a nation, we continued to struggle with the ups and downs of COVID—falling death rates followed by surges in infections; repeated shut-downs and re-openings of schools, stores, and restaurants; confusing and sometimes conflicting recommendations on vaccines, masks, and more. Yet thanks to our community—the patients and families we serve, our loyal donors, and tireless staff—Capital Caring Health persevered and continued to not only meet, but perfect, its mission.
So like many others who use this time to review the past year’s triumphs and challenges, we’ve come up with a list of what we’ve learned over the course of the last 12 months, and what we’re grateful for.
- We are grateful to our community for its continuing confidence in our care.
Capital Caring Health (CCH) is gratified that you turn to us for care and support during the most difficult times in life. Because of your needs and those of the communities we serve, CCH continues to expand programs and services to provide a broader range of services for serious chronic conditions before the end of life.
We are also grateful to the families of patients who let us know the difference we made in their lives. Many show their thanks by giving back and becoming CCH volunteers—including people who have served for a decade or longer. And while COVID-19 challenged everyone, more than 350 of our volunteers persisted and continued to support others most in need.
We are thankful, too, for the families that “give back” through donations of treasured and everyday items to the CCH Thrift store. All proceeds benefit those who need care but can’t afford it. The store also helps the community by offering lower income residents an opportunity to buy higher quality goods at an affordable price.
- We are grateful to our donors and all those who supported us with their time and financial resources.
COVID-19 created a true emergency in communities —including loss of jobs and health coverage, and increasing food insecurity. CCH needed to change how we deliver care, purchase new equipment, and serve more patients and families left financially devastated. Donors helped us fill gaps created by the pandemic and restrictions including meal prep and delivery and with tablets for telehealth so patients and families could remain connected to their CCH care team.
Our ability to help those in need of care, but without the necessary coverage or financial resources, is directly tied to the generosity of our donors. As a result, nearly $3 million in such care is provided on an annual basis. However, during the height of the pandemic, our donors really rose to the cause: in 2021, CCH raised more money than ever. That additional influx of funds allowed us to spend more than $3.2 million on unfunded and emergency care.
Donors this past year made an important difference in two other critical areas of care: management of advanced heart disease and advanced pain treatment. The new George Pakidis Advanced Cardiac Care Program addresses the most common cause of death in the United States. Thanks to a major contribution from the Neil C. Nichols Family Foundation, Inc., to fund the program, difficult symptoms can be safely managed at home, reducing stress and improving the quality of life for patients and families.
Patients with extreme pain due to advanced illness or treatment, often from cancer, can turn to the recently named Schaufeld Family Advanced Pain Clinic. Using minimally invasive Interventional procedures, CCH brings relief to our own patients as well as patients referred by oncologists from the area’s largest and most prestigious healthcare systems.
- We are grateful for our dedicated and highly professional staff that kept us all safe.
As the pandemic continued to wreak havoc, CCH staff continued to offer compassionate care and support to patients and families under uniquely difficult circumstances.
Demonstrating professional excellence, these essential workers developed and implemented strict patient safety protocols during COVID-19. We’re especially proud that—from the start of the pandemic through today—there has not been a single transmission of the virus among patients, families, or staff. In fact, CCH allowed families to visit their loved ones at our hospice inpatient units all year, thanks to the installation of special high-tech equipment. By contrast, many other facilities did not permit any visitation—even at the end of life.
CCH staff and volunteers also revealed their creative side. When the pandemic required reimagining some hospice services, staff came up with innovative ways to deliver care that still felt “high touch,” even if it couldn’t be in person. Meaningful workarounds included: creating and delivering boxes full of what children in hospice need for emotional support and play; finding musicians to perform live on front porches for those in need of comfort; and having volunteers write letters to CCH patients to help address social isolation and loneliness.
Highly regarded by other professionals, our staff continues to win awards for compassion and caring. Five CCH physicians were recognized by their peers in the Top Doctors 2021 issue of Northern Virginia Magazine. And a CCH nurse was nationally recognized as a “Star” (for the second time) by the American Nurses Association.
4. We are grateful for the opportunity to express our thanks to you.
Finally, part of being grateful is making sure you share those feelings with others. CCH does so because it is so well-earned—especially this year.
Certainly, expressing gratitude to others can be its own reward, but as it turns out, there are many additional benefits. According to The Center for Science in the Greater Good, gratitude improves individual and collective well-being; provides perspective on loss; builds resilience and optimism; improves physical health and supports mental health; and helps build bonds with others.
So as the year draws to an end—with hope for better days ahead for everyone—why not compile your own gratitude list? For instance, you can let a family member or friend know how their help made a world of difference over the past year. Or, tell your mail delivery person or grocery store cashier you are grateful they show up every day, no matter what, to provide a service everyone needs. We guarantee the person you share your gratitude with will feel appreciated.
Happy Holidays from Capital Caring Health and Best Wishes for the New Year!