Rural hospitals come together to offer support to one another

Greene County General Hospital continues to adapt its procedures as we live through the pandemic. Before the pandemic hit, Greene County General Hospital was heavily investing in new services to offer to the community. Such as sports medicine, orthopedic surgeons, and general surgeons.

Posted: Feb 22, 2021 7:03 PM
Updated: Feb 23, 2021 2:15 PM

GREENE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- Greene County General Hospital continues to adapt its procedures as we live through the pandemic. Before the pandemic hit, Greene County General Hospital was heavily investing in new services to offer to the community. Such as sports medicine, orthopedic surgeons, and general surgeons.

Hospital officials said due to COVID-19, focusing only on all the new services had to come to a screeching halt in March.

Reetz said the focus turned more to how can the hospital take care of patients safely while keeping those new services open.

She said every day she had to send out new policy information to all her staff because the situation was so fluid.

Online meetings became normal, staff could no longer eat or congregate together, and visitors were no longer allowed inside.

Even now, CEO of Greene County General Hospital Brenda Reetz said she doesn't know what the future will look like with all the new policy changes.

She said, "Walking the tight rope between keeping your staff and patients safe and also making sure that we are emotionally supporting our families and our patients through these illnesses that they're going through."

The emotional aspect of care is something that the hospital is still working on with patients, and staff alike.

Hospital officials said they're not just caring for patients.

Reetz said the hospital is caring for family members, neighbors, and friends

Reetz told news 10 the pandemic has taken an emotional toll on her and her staff.

Reetz said at first her staff was worried they weren't going to have enough PPE to protect themselves.

She said they were also worried about how they were going to take care of patients in this uncertain time. As time wore on, she said those fears started going away.

However, another fear started taking hold of the hospital.

Reetz said, "How many more people can I see die before I don't just break down. And I think our staff had a lot of those moments. So, as leadership, we really had to do a lot to support that staff."

Support.

That is what Reetz, and the rest of her team, are focusing on as the hospital continues to battle COVID-19.

One way Reetz is able to offer support is by having social workers speak daily with staff to check in on their mental health.

Another way Reetz and her leadership team are offering support is by stepping in themselves and helping deal with patients directly.

However, Reetz said the leadership team at the hospital isn't the only team that is offering much-needed support.

Reetz said, "It's not just the leadership, it's everyone in the organization. We had nurses that backfilled housekeeping for a few weeks because we just needed help in that area."

Reetz told News 10 that seeing her staff step-up to the plate, on more than one occasion through this pandemic, has been uplifting. 

She said, "A brotherhood for life. That's kind of what this will always be and I don't think we're alone in that. I think most organizations will feel that as well. So, this is a family here, and I'm incredibly proud of them."

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