June 11, 2019
NORTON, Kan. – In April 2019, the Norton Regional Health Foundation purchased a new 800 MHz radio and decontamination supplies for just more than $3,000 to be used for situations involving a disaster or any other preparation procedures at Norton County Hospital. Decontamination supplies must be replaced often for safety purposes. The new radio will enhance situational awareness and communication among community members and staff to make educated and timely decisions in a time of disaster.
Julia Thompson, BSN, RN, is the emergency preparedness and safety coordinator at Norton County Hospital. She said that the decontamination supplies included chemical-resistant gloves, hazmat over boots, PAPR (powered air purifying respirator) hoods and filters, which are a few of the incredibly crucial components of the hospital decontamination team’s gear.
“Having up-to-date decontamination gear provides needed protection for hospital staff so they may administer appropriate and timely care to the decontaminated patient,” Thompson said.
In a critical access hospital or any other hospital, it is essential to have decontamination supplies, she added. There are many hazardous materials that go in and out of communities at all times of the day. The need for tools within local health care facilities to care for the possible victims is crucial, as other resources could be hours away.
“The 800 MHz radio is an essential external communication tool for Norton County Hospital in times of crisis when communication is vital,” Thompson said. “It also provides a means for continuous situational awareness for hospital administration on a daily basis. Critical access hospitals such as ours require multiple methods of this communication, both inside and outside of the community to coordinate assistance and relief as quickly as possible. Without multiple sources, victims could remain in danger for a longer period of time, which could lead to more casualties.”
The Norton Regional Health Foundation previously assisted the Norton County Hospital in purchasing new equipment. In early 2018, the foundation purchased a new fetal heart monitor to allow better mobility for laboring mothers. In January of 2019, new surgical instruments were purchased to allow for a quicker turnaround time between surgeries, which means more procedures can be completed in one day.
All equipment previously funded by the Foundation went through an internal application process. This method was also used to obtain the new 800 MHz radio and decontamination supplies. Equipment funded in the past two years has totaled more than $36,000 to benefit staff and patients at Norton County Hospital.
“Many thanks to the Norton Regional Health Foundation for the funding of these products,” Thompson said.
“The foundation is proud to support the Norton County Hospital emergency preparedness program to make sure it has up-to-date and necessary supplies if an emergency were to occur in our area,” said Katie Allen, Norton Regional Health Foundation executive director. “It allows staff and the community to find comfort in knowing we are ready to treat patients and save lives in these situations.”
The Norton Regional Health Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to support the enhancement of quality health care for the residents of Norton County and surrounding counties. It was established in 2016, and since then it has worked to fund hospital equipment, developed a scholarship program for nursing students, and collaborated with Live Well Norton to complete community health projects such as the Armory Drive Trail and Norton Kids’ Café. The foundation is currently raising funds to support the purchase of a new CT scanner for the hospital, which is a major equipment purchase.
Allen said the foundation is grateful to donors for their generous, tax-deductible contributions. These contributions allow for healthier local communities. For more information about the Norton Regional Health Foundation, visit the Foundation tab.