Women’s Giving Society Donates $30,000 to Mercy

April 4, 2019

FORT SMITH, Ark.  – A group of women who support Mercy has awarded more than $30,000 for equipment that will benefit patient care.

Women with a Mission, part of Mercy Health Foundation Fort Smith, brings together women from diverse backgrounds with a common goal of making a difference together through the power of giving. Members gather several times a year to vote on possible projects, learn about the impact of their giving and to network.

The group of more than 35 women met recently to review funding proposals totaling $70,000 from a variety of Mercy departments. Of 13 proposals, nine were selected with total awards of $30,608.98.

WWAM membership is open to all women who support the mission of Mercy in the Fort Smith region with a minimum $1,000 annual gift. Each year, women collectively pool their resources and collaborate with Mercy leaders to identify and fund creative solutions to important health care needs.

Projects funded from 2018 donations include cardiology, Hope Campus, oncology, sleep medicine and therapy services and wellness:

Cardiology. An automated external defibrillator will be added to Mercy’s newest Fort Smith clinic, which will serve a growing number of cardiac patients. This lightweight, portable AED delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart, allowing a normal rhythm to resume following cardiac arrest.

Hope Campus. Mercy Clinic Primary Care – Hope Campus is positioned to serve some of Fort Smith's most vulnerable and materially poor patients. The east side of the clinic has no windows and is an area where Hope Center residents and homeless individuals gather. A security video system will allow the staff to view the surroundings.

Oncology. Two extra wheelchairs will help ensure safety while providing compassionate care to some of Mercy’s weakest patients. The clinic has grown to include five providers and five advanced practice clinicians who see a minimum of 150 patients a day.

The infusion center has had a tremendous increase in volume, seeing an average of 80 patients a day. These patients are nauseated by the smell or sight of some foods. A new cart provides snacks, such as peanut butter crackers and Gatorade, that are appetizing to the patients.

Sleep center. Mercy Sleep Center – Ozark needed to upgrade beds to improve patient comfort. The center will get new mattresses and frames, four mattress encasements and mattress protectors, as well as four picture frames for the rooms.

“This is such exciting and wonderful news,” said Chellie Smith, director of sleep services. “Thanks to all of the precious ladies for the work they do and for accepting our submission. The people of Ozark are all so kind, but the beds have just really been uncomfortable for them. That location continues to grow and grow. There are no words to fully thank you all enough for this gift.”

Therapy services and wellness. Therapists will be better able to explain the anatomy, conditions and treatments of the pelvic floor to rehabilitation patients with female and male pelvis models, laminated anatomy and biofeedback education sheets. These models and education sheets are used with a biofeedback machine that WWAM purchased several years ago. Patients with low-back pain also will benefit.

“This will make such a huge difference to our patients,” said Diane Hubbard, a physical therapist. “Right now, I am using a color-coded sheet of paper in a plastic sleeve, which I hold up under the pelvic model, which is wired together, to try to have the patients visualize the muscles of the pelvic floor. This will be such an improvement.”

A wireless call light system was needed for an increasing caseload in the aquatic therapy area, where therapists are required to be in the water with some patients. A wireless system will enable a therapist to attend to the patient while calling for help, especially during times when urgent or emergency assistance is needed.

LymphaTouch is negative-pressure treatment for lymphedema and wound patients to facilitate decreased swelling and adhesions caused by scar tissue. The device helps decrease pain and improve flexibility and mobility. It also helps improve lymphatic drainage by lifting the skin and breaking up fibrotic tissue to allow lymph to flow through its natural pathways. As a result, it can decrease the amount of time a patient needs therapy.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is so exciting,” said Chris Capehart, an occupational therapist. “This device is going to make an impact for some of our more difficult cases.”

ArjoHuntleigh hydraulic lift walkers reduce transfer risks for patients and therapists when lifting or lowering a patient to and from a standing position. Safety is enhanced with adjustable handgrips for a firm hold, a U-shaped support table for leaning onto and suspension straps to prevent a patient from falling. The walker will allow for gait and standing posture training.