IEHP Employees Distribute 800 Handmade Cards to Local Residents in Nursing Facilities
There is something to be said for handwritten greetings on paper, especially during this extended period of social isolation due to COVID-19. Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) understands the impact of the personal connection that this gesture provides and quickly mobilized employees to create more than 800 handmade, handwritten greeting cards to share with residents at Inland Empire skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in the coming weeks.
“The impacts of social isolation have been a concern for us,” said Kristy Garan-Martinez, IEHP’s senior director of Utilization Management, “especially for those of our members in skilled nursing facilities who have had limited interaction with their families, friends and other residents because of our community’s social distancing measures,” she added. “We think these greeting cards can serve as a tender touch to the heart, a positive way to spread some joy, and to show our members that we’re thinking about them. We want to embrace a healing presence despite our distance, and we want them to feel loved.”
To spread these positive sentiments to residents at skilled nursing facilities throughout the region, IEHP team members got especially creative in their cardmaking efforts, even recruiting friends and family and local organizations to get involved in this fun and meaningful activity.
IEHP’s Executive Director of Operations, Jane Maass, was able to collect and contribute over 200 greeting cards by working with the National Charity League Inc. Foothill Chapter, a longstanding mother-daughter philanthropy organization that has been serving the community for more than 62 years. “With our service opportunities limited by COVID-19, our members are looking for ways to remain involved and this was perfect,” Maass said. “We had great participation with girls who jumped at the opportunity to make some creative cards with their families.”
Card deliveries will take place throughout the month and will be organized by the health plan’s Community Partnerships team. “I really enjoyed making these handmade cards knowing that we are able to let the residents of the SNFs know they are thought of and cared about. I hope, when they receive the cards, that the smile it brought me while writing them carries over to them,” said Maass.
Earlier this year, IEHP launched a texting program centered around coping during social isolation and discovered a significant need for programs such as this, especially with seniors.
“Now more than ever, it’s important to consider the impact of a simple act of kindness,” said LuAnna Jáuregui, IEHP’s manager of Community Partnerships. “A kind message written on a piece of paper can make all the difference to a person who truly needs it, especially during this time,” Jáuregui added. “We are so grateful to our Utilization Management team and our organization for recognizing this need and for rallying together to spread kindness and hope to those most vulnerable in our community.”