Nancy Miller, RN (pictured left)
Seton Shoal Creek
Nancy gives to: Patient Clothing Closet at SSC
Because you give…..we can provide our patients more than a clean set of clothing. We can give them dignity and a new start so they can step back into their life.
After putting yet another discharged patient into a cab barefoot, Nancy Miller, an RN at Seton Shoal Creek, decided enough was enough.
“I thought to myself, ‘What are we really accomplishing if we can’t care for the whole person and provide something as basic as clean clothing and shoes?’” Nancy recalls.
Nancy and a team at Seton Shoal Creek have been quiet ambassadors of person-centered care for years. They created the Patient Clothing Closet in 2009 to put an end to the days when a patient would be discharged shoeless or wearing a paper gown.
On average, the Patient Clothing Closet distributes 10 complete outfits per week. Each patient receives a top, bottom and new set of undergarments, and, if needed, a pair of shoes or flip flops. During the colder months, the Clothing Closet distributes warm coats, rain jackets and hooded sweatshirts.
“So many of our patients arrive to us from the Seton Psychiatric Emergency Department at UMCB wearing blue scrubs. Their clothing is often lost or so soiled [it’s] unwearable,” says Nancy.
“Thanks to the support from Seton associates through the Seton Cares campaign, we are able to provide our patients with a clean, new outfit that they can be proud of when they are discharged from the hospital,” she says. “We also have small carry bags, suitcases and backpacks to help them get around after they are discharged.”
Funds from Seton Cares are used to purchase new underwear, camisoles and sports bras every three to four months. If extra funds are available, Nancy purchases outerwear and shoes, often by the pound at Goodwill or at neighborhood garage sales.
The biggest need is for men’s pants. “They go flying off the shelf,” says Nancy.
“I love watching the clinical assistants attempt to create a pretty outfit for our homeless ladies and watch them stand up, smile and walk around the unit with more confidence,” she says.
“I am also so moved by our older male patients who are petrified to hand over their layers of soiled clothing because it is all they have. I know their old clothing will not survive the wash so I make a little pile of new clothing for them from items in the Clothing Closet,” Nancy mentions.
“At first, they don’t believe me that this new clothing is for them,” she says. “I need to do a little bit of negotiating so they will hand over their old clothing and take a shower.
“When these patients come out clean and shaven with their new outfit, their entire countenance changes,” Nancy says. “It is incredibly simple, but so rewarding.”