Bamlanivimab Infusion Clinic Now Open at SMML

LIVONIA – On Tuesday, December 1, St. Mary Mercy Livonia opened a Bamlanivimab Infusion Clinic onsite. This clinic administers bamlanivimab to qualifying patients with COVID-19.

What is bamlanivimab?
Bamlanivimab is a new monoclonal antibody medicine used to treat COVID-19 in non-hospitalized adults and adolescents over 12 years of age. Qualifying patients generally have mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19, and are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms or needing to be hospitalized. Bamlanivimab recently received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA.

Hours and Location
The Bamlanivimab Infusion Clinic will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Qualifying patients should call Central Scheduling at 734-655-2961 to schedule their appointment.

To enter the Bamlanivimab Infusion Clinic, patients should enter the campus at the South Entrance on Levan Road and proceed to the back of the Emergency Center. They should drive past the ambulance bays, where parking will be designated next to the warehouse.  Once patients arrive, they should call 745-655-2780, and a colleague will meet and escort them into the Bamlanivimab Infusion Center.

Colleagues or physicians who wish to reach the Bamlanivimab Infusion Center should call 734-655-2780. If you have any questions, please call Sarah Gilbert, Senior Vice President of Operations, or Nick Nickolopoulos, Chief Nursing Officer. We are excited to launch this new method for treating patients with COVID-19, and appreciate your support.

For more information, see the following documents:

Season of Advent Reflection

Begins Sunday, November 29, 2020
Michael Hoyt, Director of Mission Integration, St. Mary Mercy Livonia

Advent 2020, an Advent like no other… As we continue our global experience of the pandemic, our regular traditions and experiences have been incredibly changed: gatherings limited; trips canceled; work environments greatly modified; augmentation of fear and anxiety and challenges of all kinds. Yet, even as uncertainty and countless questions abound, many things do remain solid and stable. In particular, the truth of Advent remains:

“God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son” (John 3, 16).

This time of Advent for Christians is meant to help us to live in this truth with joy, trust and hope. Come what may, God sends his Son to us to help us experience unconditional love and acceptance from our God and to communicate it to others.

God sends his Son to us to guide us, often discreetly, in the truth that we are not alone, that God is with us in the ups and downs, good times and bad, pandemics or seasons of health. Yes, God is with us because God became one of us. God is with us because God is Love.

May this Advent time, the preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ, help us to find more deeply that stable ground that is God with us, Emmanuel, now and forever.

SMML Colleagues: Please Take the Trinity Health iBelong Survey, Nov. 30 – Dec. 16

LIVONIA – Establishing a sense of belonging for colleagues is an essential part of building a diverse workforce. To truly achieve an inclusive culture and for diversity related initiatives to be successful, we need to foster an environment where colleagues from every background can truly thrive.

The St. Mary Mercy Livonia Diversity & Inclusion Council invites you to participate in our first iBelong Diversity Survey to better understand if you believe you work for an organization that supports and values the diverse cultures, ideas, and experiences of its colleagues. The survey will be open from Nov. 30 – Dec. 16.

This survey will help our organization gain an in-depth understanding of how colleagues experience their workplace as it relates to diversity and inclusion. Data will be analyzed and used to inform the development of programs and initiatives across St. Mary Mercy Livonia.

You can access the survey at surveymonkey.com/r/SMMLiBelong2020. Your participation and responses are strictly anonymous. Your name and WorkDay ID are not needed to complete the survey.

To read more from President Dave Spivey, Chief Human Resources Officer Keyantee’ Davis, and Director of Mission Integration Michael Hoyt, please see this letter.

Thank you for your assistance in helping us gain a better understanding of diversity and inclusion at St. Mary Mercy Livonia.

SJMAA’s Amy West and Morgan Murdock Earn DAISY Awards for Delivering Remarkable, Compassionate Care

Amy West, BSN, RN

Unit: 11 East, Oncology General Medicine

Balancing the technical skill of a modern health care professional with the caring sensitivity required for excellent nursing, is not easy. However, Amy West, BSN, RN from 11 East manages the perfect balance of extraordinary clinical competency with sincere compassion that not only benefits St. Joe’s patients, but also elevates her team.

Amy, who has a passion for serving the inpatient chemotherapy population, was nominated by a patient who was fearful about her treatment. “During my three day stay and chemo-infusion treatment, Amy spent the time to listen and help me through tearful moments while doing everything to make me as comfortable as possible,” said the patient. At one point, Amy even made the patient a milk shake when she was too sick to eat anything else.

As a highly skilled healer, Amy shares her knowledge with colleagues to benefit their professional growth while improving patient care. She is currently working on an extensive educational project to share common practices of inpatient chemotherapy.

“Amy generously shares her skills and leadership, while also helping to teach newer staff as a preceptor,” said Dawn Buerkle, BSN, RN. “In addition to these crucial technical skills, part of Amy’s talent is in her ability to really listen to the patient and care for the whole person.”

Thank you, Amy for providing the compassionate, attentive and highly skilled care that helps patients heal. Your passion for your patients embodies the essence of the DAISY Awards.  

Oct. 2019

Manager: Dawn Buerkle, BSN, RN

Morgan Murdock, BSN, RN

Unit 6 North, MICU

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor

A phenomenal caregiver who connects with patients and colleagues, Morgan is known as someone who will go out of her way to bring a smile and help others. Morgan is passionate about her calling as a nurse and embraces the impact her care can bring to the lives of patients and their families during the most difficult times. During one such event, when one of her patients passed who had made arrangements to be an organ donor, Morgan set up an “honor walk,” which profoundly touched the grieving family.

Leading up to the patient’s passing, Morgan kept the family fully informed in a compassionate, respectful manner that helped reduce confusion. “We were so thankful for Morgan’s dedication to go far above and beyond the call…my family has several people in the nursing profession who were also awestruck by her kind soul,” said the patient family member who nominated Morgan.

“Morgan is a strong advocate for the patients and families she cares for, and is such an important member of our team,” said Ellen Donnelly, Nurse Manager, Patient Care Services. “She also is a role model for staff entering the ICU. She is a clinical expert and you can always rely on her in even the most critical times.”

Thank you, Morgan for the remarkable care you provide patients along with your skill and sensitive support of families who need your caring help.

December 2019

Manager: Ellen Donnelly   

Celebrate Safely This Holiday Season

The holiday season is approaching and due to the threat of COVID-19, it’s important that you stay safe if you choose to celebrate. Wear a mask, physical distance and wash your hands.

Whether you are hosting or attending a gathering, or planning to travel, here are some things you should be aware of: 

  • COVID-19 case levels and spread in your community — High levels of spread in the gathering location, as well as where attendees are coming from, increases the risk of infection. 
  • Celebration location — Outside is better than inside. Indoor gatherings generally pose more risk. 
  • Celebration duration — Shorter gatherings are best. Events that last longer pose more risk. 
  • Number of attendees — Gatherings with more people pose a higher risk than those with fewer. 
  • Traveling attendees — Gatherings with attendees who live in the same area pose a lower risk 
  • Personal behavior — Adhering to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, hand washing, and other prevention behaviors lowers risk. 

To learn more about how to protect yourself and those you love, the CDC offers holiday guidance to help you lower the risk of contracting and spreading the virus. 

Reflection: Feast Day of the Felician Sisters of North America

By Michael Hoyt, Director of Mission Integration, St. Mary Mercy Livonia

A few weeks ago, I was able to spend time with Sr. Mary Modesta Piwowar, a Felician Sister and former President of St. Mary Mercy Livonia.  Several times during our conversation she quoted, with great passion, the foundress of the Felician Sisters, Mother Mary Angela Truszkowska, who often said to her sisters “always respond to the needs of the times.”  Mother Mary Angela imparted to her sisters, and through them to us who serve today at St. Mary Mercy Livonia, the core inspiration behind our ‘healing and transformative’ ministry in the spirit of the Gospel to the people we care for: holistic attention and compassionate service to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the people we serve.  The charism and ministry of the Felician Sisters, since 1855 in Poland up to the present day at our ministry in Livonia, Michigan, still animate our efforts at St. Mary Mercy Livonia.  The sisters have been a transformative presence in this community for decades, and we are blessed to continue the healing ministry that they began. 

We give thanks to the Felician Sisters on this their feast day for who they are and all they have done.  And we thank God for the blessings they continue to impart to our whole community.

Happy Feast Day to our Felician Sisters!

Remarkable Women Shape Our World

Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity for us to reflect on the many amazing people who make our world better. Many of us have benefited from remarkable women who have had a profound impact on our lives whether as leaders, friends, mentors, spouses or parents. Last week, our Respect, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (RIDE) team acknowledged Kamala Harris as the first woman and woman of color to be selected as vice president. In the world of sports, we have also recently witnessed women breaking new ground in the MLB, NFL & NBA as general managers, coaches and referees. We remember the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her work in gender equality. Recent history has been moved by women.

Earlier, our world was shaped by pioneering women who 100 years ago fought for the right for women to vote. Before that, our healing mission was molded by Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Sister Mary Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831 and by 1911, the Sisters would be called on to found St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor. It was highly fitting last week, as we held a virtual ceremony to honor colleagues who served our hospital for 25, 30 and 35 years, that we also recognized three long serving and highly respected Sisters of Mercy: Sister Yvonne Gellise, Sister Anne Marilyn Tyler and Sister Judy VanderVeen. Each has given over 50 years of service to helping all people remain healthy. Sister Yvonne has been at the forefront of many historic issues, notably her efforts to end homelessness and her leadership in building St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor as CEO from 1968-76. Thanks to Sister Anne, the walls outside each patient room – all 537 of them – are adorned with framed photos of flowers. No two are alike, and patients find rays of comfort in them. In big and small ways, Sister Anne preserves the Sisters of Mercy’s heritage. Since coming to St. Joe’s Ann Arbor in 1964, Sister Judy has taught countless nurses over the years as a nurse educator with the Mercy School of Nursing and as a faculty member at Washtenaw County Community College. Many excellent nurses count Sister Judy as a great mentor and friend.

We have been challenged in 2020, but as we look with reverence and appreciation on these remarkable women who have given so much to us, there is also much to be thankful for.

Who influenced your journey in life the most? (Male, female, boss, teacher, friend, colleague – it doesn’t matter!) Please email your story to The Respect, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (R.I.D.E.) task force at: ride@stjoeshealth.org.

Gratitude

By Jennifer Hill Buehrer LMSW

This is the theme of the season, right?  We’re all encouraged at this time of year to focus on gratitude… we see the images of families gathered around an expanded dining table (or preferably not expanded this year) getting ready to eat a feast, taking a moment to share the things they are thankful for.  I think for a lot of us it feels difficult this year to do that… to focus on gratitude, when there is so much going on that makes us frustrated and leaves us feeling cheated.  I especially think about those people I see in my line of work who have life-threatening illnesses, and who expect that this might be their last Thanksgiving.  How tough it must be to feel grateful.

Gratitude, however, isn’t just something we should try to focus on because we’re blessed, or because we have everything we need.  During a pandemic that has taken so much (and so many) away from us, gratitude is the attitude that allows us to actually get through it.  Without gratitude, it’s a short fall into despair under these conditions.  I can think of all kinds of things to feel bad about if I allow myself – and if I start to list some of them here, I’m risking stepping into that black hole myself.  So when those thoughts come up, I acknowledge them, remind myself that I can’t control those things, and refocus my thoughts on the great things in my life.

I have wonderful friends, some of whom I’ve been able to spend time with because of the beautiful weather this fall and all the options for meeting outside.  I live in a neighborhood where I feel supported and safe.  I have a fairly secure job and income – in a place that does work I believe in.  I have loving family, and while I might not get to spend time with most of them right now, I know they’re safe and we can talk when we want to.  So far, I’m healthy.  I’m actually surrounded by love in my life, which is the greatest thing of all.

I’ve talked about these things before… and like I mentioned in my last article, it can seem trite to list things that are good around me when so much bad is happening.  But I guess I’m trying to draw a distinction between feeling like somehow the good things in your life should help you feel better about the bad, and the benefits of focusing your energy on gratitude.  Feeling grateful doesn’t make the pain go away, but it’s simply a healthier place to focus your eyes.  And it actually can anesthetize the sting of the pandemic to some extent.  But it does take practice, day after day.  Some people keep a gratitude journal and I’ve done that myself off and on; for me it just works better to make it a mental practice that I call on when I start to feel discouraged.

Whatever the holidays look like for you this year, it’s unlikely to be what you’re used to.  But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  Sometimes having an excuse to do things in a smaller way can give you a perspective you might have needed.  If you go into it with gratitude, you might find that you have it better than you think.  And before you know it, we’ll be smiling at each other again… and you’ll have an appreciation for things you never thought about before.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Jennifer Buehrer, LMSW is a palliative care social worker at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.

It’s the Little Things… It Has to Be

By Jennifer Hill Buehrer LMSW

Wow.  Here we are, something like ten months from when we saw the beginning of this pandemic, and soon after that, shut everything down (at least in Michigan).  I honestly thought it would be over by now.  The emotional impact of it goes up and down for me, and I imagine that’s not unusual.  With the weather getting colder and the skies getting grayer, it’s more difficult these days for me to remain upbeat about it all.

Part of what makes it challenging is having so many of our colleagues out with this virus.  Earlier in the year when we were really at the peak, the one thing we could feel really good about was the fact that so few of our own were getting hit with it.  We were obviously doing a good job with the PPE and taking the necessary precautions – at least the ones we thought were necessary then – and we dodged it for the most part.  Now here we are, taking even more precautions, and yet I’m hearing that as many as 100 of my local colleagues may be out with COVID.

I have to be honest.  I’ve sat down and written this particular column like three times now, and I can’t get it right.  Reading what I wrote a couple of weeks ago, talking about the fall leaves and the sunsets and the lunch with friends and how that all makes me feel better… today it all feels trite.  I’m anxious.  I’m sad, and frustrated, and worried.  I have coworkers in the ICU – as patients.  I have coworkers at the bedside on the COVID unit, taking on more patients as volume continues to spike.  I can’t have Thanksgiving.  I can’t even have dinner at my favorite restaurant.  I’ve held it all together through most of this thing, and done my best to try to help others do the same.  But it’s getting ROUGH.

The interesting thing to me is that I actually feel safest here at work.  People express concern about coming to the hospital and potentially being exposed to COVID, but the fact is that we’re so much more at risk in the community than here.  Because we’re doing what we need to do here and protecting ourselves and our community.  I’ve said it before: it also just helps me cope to be surrounded by people who are going through this with me.  We can stop in the hall for a few minutes and share our frustrations and worries, and it really does help.  Those little interactions, and comforts of being together, go a long way these days.

Back in the spring we were all greeted daily by grand gestures from our communities and from our leaders, letting us know that we’re supported.  There were signs everywhere, and chalk on the sidewalks, and donated lunches every day.  I don’t happen to think all the “hero” talk is especially helpful, but it was most definitely well-intentioned.  People wanted us to know we’re not alone, even when we feel like we are.  I don’t see those grand gestures anymore, and I’m not sure we will again… but it truly is those little interactions and experiences that we have together that make me feel like we’ll get through this.  That’s what means the most to me.

Thanks to everyone here, in every moving part of this big machine, for getting us through this weirdest period in modern history.  Don’t stop taking those moments in the hall to talk, support each other, and even vent when you need to. We will get through this together.

Jennifer Buehrer, LMSW is a palliative care social worker at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.

Colleague Appreciation Award to be Paid Nov. 19

As announced in October, Mercy Health and St. Joe’s colleagues will receive a $600 appreciation award in recognition of your extraordinary service to our communities.

  • The award will be paid on Thursday, Nov. 19 via the method you receive your regular paycheck.
  • It is subject to tax and other applicable withholdings.
    • 22-percent federal tax will be withheld. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has rules about what tax rate applies to certain types of payments processed through payroll. This type of one-time award is subject to a standard 22-percent federal tax withholding at the time of payment.
    • Retirement savings plan contributions will not be withheld from the award.
  • Please see the questions and answers file, which has new information: Read the updated Q&A

You and your talent, hard work and commitment to our Mission are appreciated.