With medical staff stretched thin and working extra hours at Highland District Hospital as COVID-19 hospitalizations around the state have increased, the Liberty Township Lions Club is working on an “A Thousand Hearts” project to let those workers know how much they are appreciated.
“Our goal is to collect at least 1,000 heart-shaped cards from our community upon which are written words of encouragement for these courageous workers,” said Liberty Township Lions Club President Chris Mahan. “These will then be displayed at the hospital for the workers to see during the week of Valentine’s Day.”
Due to the COVID-19 surge, Ohio hospitals have been overwhelmed and have had to postpone elective surgeries and have faced staffing shortages as a result of COVID-19 infection or exposure, and burnout.
Highland District Hospital President and CEO Randy Lennartz said the capacity of the hospital has fluctuated in recent weeks, sometimes reaching full capacity. “So far we’ve done really well due to our staff,” he said. “We’ve got a great medical staff, and we’ve got a great regular staff.”
Highland District Hospital Vice President of Operations Tim Parry said the hospital has had to cancel a lot of the elective surgeries as well as shut down colonoscopies because of staff shortages. He said it has had to “float” all the staff to take care of incoming emergencies.
Parry said that the community needs to be patient and understanding if they come in and to know that the workers are doing the best they can with the staff they have.
Members of the Liberty Township Lions Club have been busy making the cards which will be distributed to businesses and organizations throughout Hillsboro. These businesses will give their customers and clients the opportunity to write their messages on the cards.
The cards will be picked up from the businesses Feb. 7 and distributed to the hospital Feb. 9. A list of participating businesses can be found on the Liberty Township Lions Club Facebook page (@LibertyTownshipLionsClub).
In a recent news release, Lennartz said, “Our beds are full with both patients who are being treated for COVID-19 and those who have other acute and chronic issues that need immediate medical attention. Additionally, our emergency department is seeing unprecedented volumes of patients seeking care, both emergent and non-emergent.”
He said the staff has been asked to give more of its time and resources and that the staff are “exhausted, yet determined.”
“As an organization we can confidently and proudly say they have unselfishly given their time and heart to our community and their fellow co-workers at the expense of less time with their own families. We are incredibly proud of our team,” he said.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.