Happy New Year from Gilchrist!
A message from Gilchrist President Catherine Hamel:
To all of Gilchrist’s friends, supporters, patients and families, Happy New Year. 2020 was a year unlike any other—one that brought fear, uncertainty and unimaginable challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic upended our work and threatened our very way of life. Yet it united us in ways we could never have predicted. I am proud to say that we rose to the occasion, and we are poised to emerge stronger than ever in 2021 as we continue our vital work.
When I think back on all that we’ve been through this past year, three words come to mind: resilience, innovation and compassion. In the face of enormous stress, our frontline workers never buckled under pressure. Fear, exhaustion and disappointment were quickly replaced with bravery, unity and hope. Our teams never gave up—continuing their vital care to make sure patients and families were never alone.
As COVID-19 cases rose across the state in mid-March, Gilchrist rapidly implemented innovative ways of delivering care. Telehealth and virtual visits became the new norm for many of our services, while in-person visits continued for essential care. To keep our staff safe, we acquired $700,000 worth of personal protective equipment. These new measures were costly, but necessary, and many in our community helped by contributing to the Gilchrist COVID-19 Support Fund.
As we learned patients in area hospitals were dying alone, we wanted to give people a more compassionate alternative, allowing a loved one to be by their side in the final moments of life. To meet this need, Gilchrist opened a dedicated COVID inpatient hospice unit at Gilchrist Center Towson. As the only unit of its kind in Maryland, it attracted patients from across the state. Compassion is one of Gilchrist’s defining characteristics, and it has never been more evident than now. When I look around, I see compassion in the faces, words and actions of our devoted nurses, chaplains, social workers and aides. They know there are still fears to calm, smiles to share and hearts to heal. Our staff members embody compassion in its purest form, and they bring a measure of peace to families that will never be forgotten.
As we face the challenges ahead, Gilchrist will continue our commitment to delivering exceptional care to individuals in our community. We remain steadfast in our mission to provide counseling, support and care to anyone with a serious illness, so they may live life to the fullest.
We are encouraged by the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. This is truly our path forward and our only real opportunity for returning life to a “normal” state.
I wish you and your families a safe, healthy and prosperous 2021.
To learn more about Gilchrist and the services we provide, visit gilchristcares.org.