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Published on August 11, 2020

an employee in PAPR

Community contributions secure vital protective equipment for staff

The communities Gundersen serves are protecting our frontline staff facing COVID-19 by helping to provide the vital equipment that shields them from life-threatening viruses.

Powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) keep healthcare workers safe by filtering contaminated air and providing purified air. Unlike face masks, staff can reuse and share the respirator after it's sanitized, allowing Gundersen to conserve other vital protective equipment for frontline workers, says Bridget Pfaff, specialist, Infection Control.

As COVID-19 spread around the world, hospitals closer to home began vying for PAPRs. At the same time, our neighbors and community partners looked for ways to help.

Generous gifts to Gundersen Medical Foundation funded 26 PAPRs that can be used at Gundersen locations where they are needed most, especially in emergency settings where care is delivered before a COVID-19 screening.

"The reusable equipment donated by our benevolent community, will allow our staff to readily provide exceptional, compassionate care for all our patients, while evaluating and caring for a diverse array of patients and symptoms in Emergency and Urgent Care, now and well into the future," says Chris Eberlein, MD, Emergency Medicine.

The equipment allows our staff in other areas to continue vital patient care, like skin cancer screenings in Dermatology, and can be used by those providing long-term care in skilled nursing facilities, Bridget says.

"Our community is an extension of our healthcare team. When our staff have resources and equipment they might not otherwise have access to because of the generosity of others, I hope they feel they are not alone in this fight, that they are seen and that they are appreciated," says Mandy Nogle, philanthropy director, Gundersen Medical Foundation. "The purchase of the PAPRs is just one way the power of philanthropy is making a difference for many."

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