Long-term care reaches out to Haiti

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[Photo by Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross]

They are not all touting their good works, but many long-term care communities and their vendors are providing valuable relief to disaster-stricken Haiti.

The organizations are great and small. Here are a few examples among many:

The Beth Abraham Family of Health Services in Bronx, NY, has donated $7,000 worth of supplies, such as gauze, bandages, canes, wound supplies, aspirin and non-perishable goods, according to Peter Fragale, senior vice president, chief human resources officer. Its linen service producer, Unitex, has donated about six palettes of linen supplies. Employees also have contributed box loads of non-perishable items, Fragale said.

The initiative began when the president sent an e-mail to employees at Beth Abraham, informing them the provider will provide as much help to the country and those affected in the organization as it can.

Besides the monetary and supply donations, the organization has acted on a personal level, Fragale said. He and Chief Operating Officer Clari Gilbert, who is from Haiti's neighbor the island of St. Vincent, toured each of the four nursing homes that make up the Beth Abraham Family and consoled their Haitian workers. The organization continued to pay the salaries of two workers who went to the battered nation to help. (See blog entry from Tuesday.)

Such an outpouring of support has overwhelmed the workers, Fragale said. Many posted the president's e-mail on doors and walls.

The effort reflects the spirit of the organization, Fragale said.

“We're a healthcare organization and that's what we do. We care about people,” he said.

Other good works

Here are other stories of charity in the long-term care field:

— Immediately after the earthquake, Jewish Home Lifecare/Sarah Neuman Center in Mamaroneck, NY, donated 300 mattresses to the AFYA Foundation, which obtains and ships vital supplies to support medical and surgical needs worldwide, said Harriet Rosenberg, director of Public Affairs and Media Relations for the organization. Trustees also have donated $5,000 to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee from the Fund for the Aged, she added. Jewish Home Lifecare has 3,561 employees. A sizeable number are Haitian, Rosenberg said.

Staff and tenants also are collecting donations. Social work staff members also are providing counseling to members.

— On a larger scale, the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (IAHSA) is reaching out to Haiti through its partner HelpAge International (HAI).

“HAI is the only relief and development organization focused on the needs of older persons in developing countries and has had a presence in Haiti for eight years,” according to a member letter from IAHSA, an affiliate of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

— The Assisted Living Federation of America also has established a relief fund to provide financial support to Haitian employees of senior living companies.

The executive committee established the fund with a seed grant of $10,000 from the ALFA treasury.

“Senior living companies rely upon the professionalism and commitment of Haitian employees day in and day out,” said Richard Grimes, president and CEO of ALFA, in a statement. “This is the least we can do to relieve some of their anguish over the loss and suffering of their homeland.”

It's worth noting that Haitian staff across the country are continuing to come to work, despite not knowing the fate of their family members in Haiti. That is dedication.

A few charities offering relief to Haiti are mentioned above. See a list of other organizations accepting donations at AAHSA's “The Future of Aging” blog. 

Feel free to let McKnight's know about what you are doing to help your Haitian employees and the country of Haiti.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.