The current Covid-19 virus pandemic is requiring everyone to cope with ways to avoid becoming infected, to deal with the unexpected financial burdens of income loss as workplaces close, and the difficulty of navigating an overloaded health and social services system. With no on-island hospital, with Vashon's limited access to nursing care--especially for the elderly-and reliance on the ferry system to have access to supplies, urgent care treatment or medical equipment, the Vashon Island community, has added needs that compound problems the pandemic compels us to meet.
The Vashon Care Network is rising to the challenge by building on the services we normally offer, and expanding our connections with community services groups to specifically address problems that have arisen through this situation of sheltering-in-place.
VCN 's most well-known service to the community is meeting the needs of islanders through its Care Closet which provides free medical equipment and supplies to islanders who may require anything from a hospital bed to personal hygiene supplies. This last year we distributed 1800 pieces of equipment and supplies to our island community. We are currently working with the group Masks for Vashon to distribute masks to islanders, especially to caregivers and the elderly. The Care Closet has also provided gloves, antiseptic wipes, and soap which are indispensable to defend against the Covid-19 virus, and is now offering free kits of these supplies for caregivers on Vashon Island.
VCN works with a network of more than 30 private caregivers on Vashon to provide solutions for families and/or individuals who want to remain in their homes. Caregivers on the Island are continuing to provide care throughout this pandemic, a pandemic that can add stress symptoms of fatigue, anxiety and depression. As we extend support to the community, the Vashon Care Network will offer four 2-3 hour long ZOOM sessions on a quarterly basis to family members and/or friends caring for loved ones as well as private caregivers. These sessions will address caregiver burnout by providing a forum for conversation and mutual support.
We are proud to play a part in helping our community to weather this particular storm the pandemic has caused, and will continue building a solid foundation to expand that support. We hope you will consider joining in our journey by contributing your skills as a volunteer, your expertise, and your financial support to help us help others.