By Jonesa Rodriguez - April 15, 2020
Hospitals are facing major challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, and Moffitt Cancer Center is no exception. As our patients continue to seek lifesaving care, the cancer center is doing everything possible to protect the immunocompromised, as well as our own health care team. This includes strengthening our safety measures, harnessing technology and expanding our research beyond cancer to better understand this virus.
As our nurses, physicians and researcher are assisting to combat the pandemic, the cancer center wanted to ensure the Moffitt family had the extra support needed in these uncertain times. The call to action was the launch of the COVID-19 Frontline Response Fund created by the Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation.
“Our foundation set up the COVID-19 Frontline Response Fund to support the complex needs of our patients, as well as our team members who are ensuring the health and safety of our patients during this difficult time,” said Maria Muller, president of the Moffitt Foundation. “While this virus has altered the way of life for many, the demand for world-class cancer care for our patients remains unchanged.”
Since Moffitt is a multifaceted organization, several areas needed support. The Foundation decided to focus the fund on three critical areas – patient support, telemedicine and research.
Patient support helps our team members feel safe and secure by ensuring they have the proper personal protective equipment needed to care for patients. It also provides comfort to patients by virtually connecting them with loved ones who can no longer visit due to the strengthening of safety measures.
Telemedicine offers patients the ability to receive care from the comfort of their own homes. This is a critical need for Moffitt’s most vulnerable patients who cannot wait until the world returns to normal to receive care. While virtual visits at Moffitt have spiked to nearly 350 a day, up from 100 a month in early March, more patients will need virtual care as social distancing recommendations and stay-at-home orders remain in effect.
As new details emerge about the coronavirus every day, Moffitt researchers are lending their knowledge to help better understand the virus and its impact. The response fund will support researchers conducting antibody and immune response research related to COVID-19.
“Funds for research are very critical,” Muller said. “Our researchers are investigating how the body’s immune system reacts to and fights COVID-19 infection, which in turn could lead to new treatments or a vaccine in the future.”
The ultimate goal of the fund is to relieve the stress that the pandemic has caused cancer patients and team members. Donations will go directly toward patients and the team members caring for them.