Like all of us, David Bohan, Vice President & Chief Development Officer of The Valley Hospital Foundation had to quickly transition most of his department’s goals and strategies when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. David has been in his position for three years at the Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Valley Health System. Born in Ridgewood, he spent a good portion of his professional career in higher education, working in the Development departments of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Carnegie Mellon University before coming back to his roots in Ridgewood at The Valley Hospital Foundation.
“It was a nice ‘homecoming’ at a time when Valley announced they were going to construct a new hospital in Paramus,” he said. Little did he know what the importance of a new facility would be…now more than ever.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation had to rapidly switch gears from their strategic fundraising plan to creating and managing the execution of Valley Hospital’s community support programs addressing emergent coronavirus issues.
The Foundation helped mobilize community outreach to help Valley procure donations of personal protection equipment (PPE) and food for the frontline staff. As of this writing, Valley has received over 12,000 meals thanks to the generous donations of local restaurants and community fundraising efforts to purchase and deliver meals for staff.
“Healthcare workers really appreciated seeing supportive messages on lawn signs en route to the hospital, not to mention the applause, sirens, horns, and cheers in their honor,” says David.
The Foundation ran a campaign for volunteers to help make masks for frontline clinicians with kits complete with the materials to be taken home, assembled, and returned to the hospital. They have received thousands of donated masks in return. As a “thank you,” Valley offered free kits which included all of the raw materials needed for people to make masks at home for their families.
“We kept adding opportunities for the community to help each week on our website--and the response has been terrific,” states David. “As of today, we’ve surpassed 1300 donors to our emergency COVID-19 Response Effort supporting our frontline.”
Our staff was concerned with going home and spreading the virus through their shoes, so the Foundation sponsored a very successful drive for Crocs® shoes, which can be easily cleaned of contamination upon returning home. The Foundation also established a drop-off location for supporters to leave donations of N95 masks, surgical masks, isolation gowns, and gloves.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office donated two dozen iPad tablets to facilitate communication for families while their loved ones are in the hospital. These tablets also allow for virtual visits with doctors or nurses in order to conserve PPE, which needs to be put on every time a healthcare worker enters a room with a COVID-19 patient inside.
Other initiatives included arranging for the donation of COVID-19 serum from recovering individuals. Eligible patients volunteered to donate blood, which would be screened for the presence of the disease’s antibodies. The antibody-rich plasma would then be transferred into COVID-19 patients whose conditions were severe or life-threatening.
This crisis has been a significant reminder as to the life-saving implications of having a first-class healthcare system right here in Bergen County.
As the Foundation moves on to lead the charge of building Valley’s new hospital in Paramus (expected to open in 2023), the pandemic of 2020 has led to some visionary adjustments for the new facility. Some of the pivot points include recognizing the need for more single-patient rooms for isolation as well as rooms that can be converted to negative pressure with the touch of a button. As data, research, and experience are gained, these insights can be applied to the new facility while it is under construction.
“Now, more than ever, residents of northern New Jersey can appreciate Valley’s provision of a regional state-of-the-art health care facility, which is close-by and more convenient than heading into New York City,” states David.
As one of only four hospitals in New Jersey to receive the 2020 America’s 250 Best Hospitals Award™ Valley is in the top 5 percent of more than 4,500 hospitals assessed nationwide for superior clinical performance.
If you are interested in getting involved with The Valley Hospital Foundation and its outreach, contact their office at 201-291-6300 or click on valleyhospitalfoundation.org