Lending a helping hand
 to vulnerable patients

BreastWest patient Marilyn Fillis receives her grocery box from Erin Shaw of Western Health. (Supplied)

While we have all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact is being felt more by some in our community than others.

For patients undergoing cancer treatment, or those suffering a chronic health condition, a trip to the supermarket to stock up on pantry supplies can have a devastating impact.

To minimise the risk of exposure to the virus, and to ensure patients are not missing out on basic pantry supplies, the Western Health Foundation has stepped in to lend a helping hand.

Funded through generous cash donations from the community, the foundation is assisting some of our most vulnerable patients in the community by purchasing and delivering essential pantry staples.

The patients, identified through the BreastWest and Greatest Need support programs, will receive a delivery of essential grocery items including toilet paper and ingredients for meals and snacks.

BreastWest support officer Jennie Wetzler welcomed the support.

“With supermarkets experiencing stock outages of many essential items, this directly affects our patients. The last thing we want is for our patients who are immunocompromised to have to make multiple trips to the supermarket and expose themselves unnecessarily just to find basic grocery items,” she said.

“At any time, a breast cancer diagnosis will have a financial impact to patients. On top of this some have lost their jobs or partners have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 situation.

“Through donations from the community we are able to support these patients and ensure they get the necessary items they need to get them through.

“Seeing the joy, and relief, on the faces of our patients when they receive their grocery box is truly uplifting.”

Patients identified through the Greatest Need Project will also benefit from the grocery boxes.

These patients are among some of the most vulnerable, often experiencing multiple hospital admissions for chronic conditions, as well as experiencing financial hardship. Many do not have the ability, or access, to order groceries online and are putting themselves at risk by leaving home to get to the supermarket.

Sunshine Hospital has established ’The Pantry’ for those in immediate need of necessary grocery items. This might be a patient being discharged to an empty home for example, to assist them in settling in and recovering for a few days without having the added worry of going to a supermarket.

Patients can gain immediate access to basic grocery items donated through the Western Health Foundation. Plans are in progress for pantry staples to be available at Footscray Hospital in the near future.

To make a donation visit www.whfoundation.org.au or call 8345 7660.