AMHERST — It was a bright spot during the pandemic when Baystate Medical Center donated 10 new hospital beds to Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst.
“This kind of generosity makes you feel there’s good in the world,” said Maria Rivera, executive director of the small residential hospice.
Ron Eisnor sparked the donation. A nurse with a regular shift in the intercare floor at the Springfield hospital, he has also worked per diem at the nine-bed Fisher Home for three years, and saw the hospice needed new beds.
“The beds they had were old. They clanged and clicked,” he said, and the mattresses on them were not the latest, most comfortable ones. “People at the end of life deserved better.”
He realized Baystate had some new beds that were sitting in storage while the hospital tried out even newer ones. So he approached Jamie Caron, the nurse manager who oversees the Engineering department. Lindsey Santanello, an assistant nurse manager, helped facilitate the donation, and Caron agreed to send the unused beds to the hospice.
It was a team project. Jeff Sexton, who works in Baystate’s Engineering department, arranged to get them to the location, scheduled the pickup, and brought the beds to the loading dock. At the Fisher Home, certified nurse assistant Ashlee Viens mobilized the hospice staff to bring in the beds.
On a chilly day in late March, the beds arrived in a tractor-trailer, and the staff and some hospice volunteers moved them into the hospice residence. “It was mid-pandemic, and we were all super low,” Rivera said. “This brought the team together in joy.”
The beds, made by Stryker, are an improvement over the previous beds, which were starting to fail, Rivera added. The new ones have much better mattresses, which prevent skin breakdown in bedbound patients. The side rails are safer, and there is a built-in bed alarm that helps avert falls. It is now possible to weigh patients without taking them out of bed, and the beds can be tilted back and forth, making it much easier to reposition people. In addition, the beds are more spacious and longer.
Such beds would have cost the hospice about $4,000 each, Rivera noted — “a truly generous donation from a big healthcare institution to a small one.”