Cass County Medical Care Facility staff boost spirits amid COVID-19

CASSOPOLIS — The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone — especially for those working in the healthcare field.

To help bring some cheer to their workplace, the Cass County Medical Care Facility staff has been working to give themselves and their coworkers something to look forward to each week.

As the holiday season approached, Cass County Medical Care Facility staff began donating to and hosting weekly drawings for small gifts to lift staff spirits. To celebrate Thanksgiving, the workplace hosted drawings for two Thanksgiving baskets, complete with a full meal, and donated one to a coworker who had been in a severe accident. The staff also raised nearly $3,000 to contribute to their coworker to aid in her recovery expenses.

Staff member Barbara Price coordinated the drawings as a way to lift staff spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each week, every employee’s name is put into a drawing for a gift donated by fellow employees.

“It started with COVID,” Price said. “We decided we would get little gifts each week. Then, we decided we wanted to do something special for Thanksgiving, so that’s when we decided to do the Thanksgiving baskets.”

Since the first drawing, the program has grown, with more than 30 employees donating to the activity. Both Price and Cass County Medical Care Facility Administrator Christian Lutes said the response has been overwhelmingly positive and gone a long way toward making a difficult situation for employees more tolerable.

“Since March, we’ve been on this crusade to take care of each other and show our thanks and show how much we are grateful to the employees who take care of our [residents],” Lutes said. “We have been through some tough times recently due to COVID, the loss of life and illness. So, all of us want to give back to each other and show support for each other. With the current state of things, we knew we needed to draw on each other’s generosity and grace. We needed to give back not only to the community but to each other.”

The drawings may seem like a small gesture to some, but to the staff at the facility, the drawings have made a significant impact, according to Price.

“It’s really hard seeing our residents lonely and without their families and working with our residents who are sick,” she said. “So, anything we can to put a smile on employees’ faces and make them feel that they are appreciated is going to affect how they work with our residents. Our residents will see our employees happy, and that makes them happy.”

“Staff are at an all-time level of stress watching our residents and each other get ill,” Lutes added. “It just made us all think that we want to recognize and support each other. It’s heartwarming.”

Both Lutes and Price hope to keep the drawings going for a long time, and Price is already working on putting together Christmas baskets for the month of December.

“We are looking forward to sharing and looking forward to giving,” Lutes said. “The spirit of giving needs to continue throughout the year, and it looks like this little program is here to stay.”

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