Looking out for the health and well-being of our patients and communities doesn’t always mean providing medical care – or waiting for those who need us to come to us. Advocacy is very much a part of what we do at OSF HealthCare, as individuals and as a Community of Caregivers. That’s part of how we’re building relationships that help create stronger, more connected communities.

On May 31, 2015, television sets across central Illinois captured record breaking history. Not only did this day mark the 30th annual Children’s Hospital of Illinois Telethon, it also broke a record — raising $3,838,459 to help children and families who turn to Children’s Hospital for treatment and care.

Childrens-Hospital-of-Illinois-TelethonThat unprecedented $3.8 million is now being put to work — allowing Children’s Hospital of Illinois to enhance the care it provides to kids. New equipment, including specialized incubators and cooling units have been purchased for our Neonatal Intensive Care and Congenital Heart units. Support services are being provided for families whose children have been diagnosed with illnesses. More medical research is being done to combat and fight childhood diseases, and additional training is being provided to caregivers — helping them better fulfill the needs of children and families.

These life-changing accomplishments are made possible because of community members, business, and organizations that have generously donated their time, talent, and financial gifts throughout the year to help Children’s Hospital deliver the best health care possible.

OSF HealthCare is committed to providing extraordinary care to our patients and their families. Our team members are also committed to sharing their talents and resources to benefit the communities in which we live and work.

helping-miraclesIn 2013, we conducted a comprehensive assessment to determine the key health needs in each area we serve. We found a vast array of critical needs in each community and set out to meet these needs in myriad ways – from distributing pediatric toothbrushes and dental kits to hosting a farmer’s breakfast to share colonoscopy education. We presented smoking cessation classes and courses to understand nutrition labels. We handed out taxi vouchers on New Year’s Eve to make sure revelers got home safe. In Bloomington, Illinois, we secured a grant to build a community garden on the OSF St. Joseph Medical Center campus, where nearly 400 pounds of fresh vegetables were harvested last year.

The result of this massive collaborative? Stronger, healthier, more connected communities.

care-vanAccess to care is a critical problem for some residents of the Tri-County Area in central Illinois. For those who might not be able to get to the doctor on their own – or even know where to start when they have a health need – OSF HealthCare last year rolled out its mobile Care-A-Van.

The health center on wheels has two physical exam rooms and health-care workers ready to connect residents with screenings, immunizations and health education, and even assist with tasks such as signing up for health coverage and exploring advanced care planning. Members of OSF Community Health are building relationships with employers, churches, schools and community agencies to go into the areas where people live, work and pray.

By breaking down obstacles, we are connecting patients with the appropriate level of care to get them on the road to better management of their health.

To better serve our smallest patients, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center is now a breast milk donation site. The OSF Saint Francis Donation Site for Mothers’ Milk Bank is located at the OSF Women’s Health Center and overseen by the OSF Breastfeeding Resource Center (BRC).

helping-momsHaving a local donation center makes donating breast milk more convenient, as the milk is brought to the BRC to store and ship to the not-for-profit Mothers’ Milk Bank of Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation of Denver. After being shipped to the Mothers’ Milk Bank, the organization redistributes the milk to hospitals in need.

These selfless donations help babies in special care units and neonatal intensive care units receive breast milk when the mother is unable to provide enough. The donated breast milk helps build the infants’ immune systems, and support the infants until the mother’s milk supply is available.

Breast milk donations help babies in need around the country, but the site designation in Peoria has a benefit of being close to home. This new, stronger relationship with Mother’s Milk Bank and OSF Saint Francis helps us to better serve our patients.

OSF Breastfeeding Resource Center has collected over 800 bags or bottles of breast milk since opening the donation site in July 2015. The Mission to serve everyone with the greatest care and love is extended far beyond OSF HealthCare services with the national milk bank donations.