Employee ideas in innovation fund changes for patients, families and employees at NGHS

Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Patients, visitors and employees at Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) will soon have a better experience at the hospital after six NGHS employees were awarded grants to fund their ideas for better care. The Change Grant program, funded by the NGHS Foundation’s employee giving club WATCH, allows employees to make a real difference in areas around the health system.  

“It is an exciting time at NGHS when employees are both donating to and applying for grants that, in keeping with our quest for excellence, create exceptional experiences for their patients, visitors and fellow team members,” said Sonja McLendon, chief of operational excellence for NGHS and WATCH co-chair. “We are so grateful for their compassion and commitment to continuous improvement.”

Projects include memory journals, transportation assistance and tools to better support neurodivergent patients, to name a few. Employees receiving grants include Lissa Shirley, Michelle Mair, Megan Crump, Hayley Woodard, Bonnie Gibbons and Lane Smith.

  • Thanks to Lissa Shirley, the Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Gainesville lab will be receiving a much-needed renovation – promoting employee morale and projecting a more positive image for the entire hospital.
  • Memory journals are used with spinal cord and traumatic brain injury patients across the country. Soon, thanks to Michelle Mair, family, friends and trauma team members will be able to use this important tool to help aid in the recovery of patients in the Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit.
  • Patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder may require unique accommodations that NGHS has not previously been able to provide. Megan Crump saw a need and because of her passion and vision, has made it possible for staff throughout the hospital to receive resources and education to better support these patients, allowing NGHS to better serve them.
  • Financial insecurity is oftentimes a barrier to receiving necessary health care. Hayley Woodard wants to remove those barriers to better support patients facing financial hardship and has championed transportation assistance to allow them to attend their scheduled visits. By providing WEGO vouchers for Pending Medicaid/Disability patients working with Financial Navigation, NGHS can now offer this important need for patients in the community.
  • Thanks to Bonnie Gibbons, employees at NGMC Braselton will now have a more welcoming employee area to help uplift and encourage.
  • Infusion therapy can be a chilly experience for patients for a number of reasons. While the infusion clinic at the Toccoa Cancer Center can provide blankets, these don’t provide much warmth. Because of Lane Smith, patients will now receive warmed blankets from a blanket warmer, providing much-needed comfort.

To learn more about how employee giving impacts NGHS, visit nghs.com/WATCH. Interested in supporting NGHS with your own contribution? Visit nghs.com/foundation.

About Northeast Georgia Health System Foundation

Founded in 1986, the Northeast Georgia Health System Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to health system improvements, complementary programs and partner organizations throughout the region. In an effort to further the mission of improving the health of the community in all that we do, donations to the Foundation help support innovation and enhancements at all four of Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s community hospitals, as well as many health initiatives of the system. It is truly through the generosity of friends and neighbors that many critical, life-saving projects, improvements and patient care services are available today. For more information, visit www.nghs.com/foundation.