Catholic nurses often only spiritual connection for hospitalized patients

As hospitals nationwide limit all outside visitors due to the COVID-19 crisis, nurses who share a patient’s faith are more important than ever before for patient well-being. Even under normal circumstances, a stay in the hospital can make patients nervous and anxious, but without a family member or faith leader by their side, these feelings can be amplified. This means that Catholic nurses are often the best spiritual resource for hospitalized patients on Long Island and beyond — a unique strength of Catholic Health Services hospitals.

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As the New York Post recently reported, Huntington’s Church of St. Patrick has adapted weekly confession to observe the necessary COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines. In addition to livestreaming mass at 9 am daily, the Church allows parishioners to pull up their vehicle to speak with a waiting priest. It’s just another way churches on Long Island are helping to flatten the curve while still maintaining a vibrant spiritual life and parish community.

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Catholic Health Services launches “Behind the Mask: CHS Heroes”

To help celebrate the healthcare workers and other front-line staff who are helping Long Islanders treat and defeat COVID-19, Catholic Health Services (CHS) has announced a new photo project, Behind the Mask, which spotlights the vital work that the men and women of CHS are doing every day. CHS serves more than a million people on Long Island every year, regardless of faith or background. The first installment of the photo series highlights the staff at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.

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Catholic Health Services employee creates and donates face shields

Colleen Vandermark, the assistant director of radiology and imaging at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, has been working with her sons and a group of friends to produce personal protective equipment that she then donates to doctors, nurses and other front-line staff in Long Island hospitals. She creates the face shields out of Tyvek material (most often used in construction but safe for this application as well), file sleeves and duct tape. The shields give wearers full protection and allow them to prolong the lifespan of N-95 respirator masks and other crucial equipment. Vandermark and the group have made over 100 masks so far, and plan to produce more.

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