The Little Things that Count

Compassionate Care Fund helps those in need

Sue Gibson moved to the Wood River Valley—sight unseen—in the late 1960s. She enjoyed hiking and camping in the Sawtooth Mountains. She was part owner of the Answering Service business in Ketchum and later worked as an interior designer, meeting many interesting friends along the way. It’s the sense of community and her dear friends that Sue loves most about the Wood River Valley.

One friend in particular, Erin Buell, through her position at St. Luke’s Center for Community Health, has played an important role in Sue’s health.

“Erin has helped me so many times,” Sue says. “She has done so much—above and beyond the call of duty.”

Sue praised the work of Erin, a community outreach coordinator with the Center for Community Health in Hailey. As part of the Center’s team, Erin spends time with individuals to understand their health needs. Her role is to help patients navigate the healthcare system and connect them to social services, as well as to provide referrals and community health education.

“She came in to save the day,” Sue says.

Sue suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that requires her to use oxygen. A typical oxygen tank is heavy and difficult for someone of Sue’s petite size to maneuver.

Instead, Sue uses a portable oxygen concentrator, which is light and small—the size of a purse. The tank was a gift from a generous stranger; its portability gives Sue peace of mind. Unfortunately, when the specialty tank malfunctioned, it proved expensive to repair. Sue turned to Erin for help.

Erin accessed funding for Sue through the newly-established St. Luke’s Wood River Compassionate Care Program. The Compassionate Care Program helps those in need by assisting with the cost of lodging, transportation, medical supplies, medications, and other necessities for St. Luke’s patients who don’t have the means to pay for them themselves.

St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation funded the program in partnership with the Medical Center in the fall of 2015. The goal of the program is to keep our community well and avoid health crises.

For Sue, the Compassionate Care Program helped fund a portion of repair costs for her oxygen tank, and the staff at the Center provided emotional support in a time of crisis.

“The program was the answer to my prayers,” Sue says.