Discharge bags ease the road to recovery for patients transferred to KHSC for COVID-19 critical care

News / General

Many out-of-region patients heading homewards wrapped in a little extra Kingston love.

After unexpectedly travelling hundreds of kilometres by land or air to Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) for critical care, many out-of-region patients with COVID-19 are now heading homewards, thankful for better health and wrapped in a little extra Kingston love.

The love comes in the form of cheerful discharge bags stuffed full of items to make the trip home warmer and cozier.  Each cloth or hand-decorated paper bag contains a set of scrubs, anti-slip socks, fleece blanket, small lap quilt, hand sanitizer, tissues and a wish-you-well note from KHSC signed by President & CEO Dr. David Pichora. 

Emergency bed-to-bed transfers over the last month have resulted in COVID-19 patients arriving from the GTA in their hospital gowns and with few possessions.  At discharge time, some patients are heading to their next care destination with fresh clothes and familiar transport courtesy of their families, while others may be moving on by chartered bus, sometimes with no clothes, shoes or coat. 

Easing a "pretty scary experience"

Enter Sarah Moore-Vasram, interim manager of the Connell 3 COVID-19 unit, who recognized that a warm send-off is just what the doctor ordered for pandemic patients after a stressful hospital stay.

“Coming here must be a pretty scary experience,” she says.

“Patients arrive intubated to a different hospital in a different city and far from their families. Or maybe they have no family at all.  Then comes time to leave the hospital on the road to recovery.  We just wanted to do something to increase their comfort and to ease that transition back home.”

Creating the discharge bags was a group effort. Various areas and departments—including 3SO Supply Chain Services, Medicine and Volunteer Services—pitched in with scrubs, socks, hand sanitizer, tissues, blankets and decorated bags.

On the community front, Tourism Kingston generously donated tote bags and fleeces, local quilting groups provided handmade quilts and the local MP’s office tucked in a Canada pin and flag to commemorate everyone coming together to conquer COVID-19.

In total, Volunteer Services has packaged together about 70 discharge bags for distribution through the Connell 3 and Johnson 3 units at KHSC.   

“This was a coordinated response that shows how team collaboration has amazing outcomes at KHSC,” says Rachael Smith-Tryon, Director of Patient Flow, Registration and Health Information Services. 

“It’s always wonderful to send patients home and, this time round, a nice bonus to add an extra dash of Kingston love!”