Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center

Auxiliary

The Mt. Ascutney Hospital Auxiliary has been an integral part of the hospital for many years. Its dedicated and committed members have contributed to hospital revenues through fundraising events, such as bake sales and yard sales, volunteer work, and the operation of the hospital's gift shop, The Lobby Stop. Each year, the Auxiliary makes a generous contribution that helps support the vital programs and services at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center.

Over the years, the Auxiliary has contributed to projects such as the purchase of a mammography unit, orthopaedic equipment for the OR, new furnishings for patient rooms and the Nursing Homes sunroom, flowers for patients on their birthdays, and the construction of the Aquatic Therapy Pool and the CT Scan Suite. The Auxiliary also offers a scholarship to help further the education of high school students who intend to pursue careers in the healthcare field.

The Mt. Ascutney Hospital Auxiliary provides an excellent opportunity to meet new people and make a difference for the hospital. For more information about becoming a member of the Auxiliary, please call (802) 674-7255.

Supporting Our Community Hospital for More Than Half a Century

In the late 1950’s, a group of local citizens formed an Auxiliary to help their community hospital through a year-round effort to raise funds that could be used to improve patient care, introduce new technology or medical specialties and meet other unmet needs within the facility. Today, more than 55 years later, the Mt. Ascutney Hospital Auxiliary is still going strong. Amazingly, some of its earliest members are still active, still involved, still helping Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center to be the best community hospital in the region. Members of the current Auxiliary board have dedicated a combined total of over 300 years of volunteer service to the Auxiliary and the Hospital!

Auxiliary members raise funds through a variety of projects. The largest and most important source of revenue is the Auxiliary’s annual Membership Appeal. Throughout the year, however, additional funds are raised through a series of fundraising projects and through sales in the Lobby Stop, the Hospital’s gift shop run entirely by Auxiliary volunteers. Some Auxiliary fundraisers have been around so long, they’re now part of the local culture – just ask anyone who’s ever tasted the Auxiliary’s famous Apple Crisp.

“One of our most important goals is to help the Hospital stay up-to-date in its equipment,” says Karen Hill, the newly- elected president of the Auxiliary Board. “Technology is advancing so quickly and getting so expensive, it’s not really possible for any hospital to keep up with it without a little financial help. And when you are committed to delivering state-of-the-art health care, as this Hospital is, you need the newest and the best. The Auxiliary is here to help make that possible at Mt. Ascutney Hospital,” she adds.

And that is just what the Auxiliary has done over the years. The most recent addition provided by the Auxiliary is a pair of high-tech defibrillators – costing over $10,000 apiece. Last year, the group donated $20,000 toward construction of the new Hospice Suite at the Hospital, enabling families to stay close to a loved one at the end of life.

“Each year our goal has been to raise money in modest amounts—but they have added up,” says Patricia Waite, past president. We try to stretch every dollar to do the most we can for the Hospital.” Nancy Loux, long-time officer of the organization, stresses that “We also make sure that Auxiliary funds are used for equipment that is appropriate for our community hospital, and for items that will be widely used to benefit patients.”

Over the years those funds have added up to over $700,000! A complete list of the Auxiliary’s contributions to the Hospital and the community would go on for pages. But there is still more to the Auxiliary’s efforts. Each year, the Auxiliary provides scholarships to local high school graduates pursuing post-secondary education in nursing and other allied health fields, through the Auxiliary’s Deborah Peeler Fund. The organization also recognizes a leading volunteer for outstanding service to the Hospital and the Auxiliary each year through the presentation of its Volunteer of the Year Award, recently renamed to honor long-time Auxiliary member, Jeannette Lynch, who passed away in early 2013 after devoting more than half a century of service to the Auxiliary and the Hospital.

“Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center has always relied on broad support from community members,” says Kathy DeSchamp, Membership Chair. “We hope everyone in the region understands how valuable our Hospital is, how essential it is to the quality of life in all our towns, from Pomfret and Woodstock to Windsor and Brownsville, to Cornish and Claremont, and beyond. In the Auxiliary, we don’t take having such a wonderful facility in our community for granted. We know we have to work to keep it top-notch, and we want everyone to help keep it that way.”

Membership in the Mt. Ascutney Hospital Auxiliary is open to all; there is no set level of member dues. An individual can become a supporting member simply by making a “membership contribution” in any amount. Individuals interested in becoming part of the Auxiliary board and helping to build the organization, are encouraged to contact Kathy DeShamp at (802) 484-7219 or by email at kwdeschamp@gmail.com.

Mt. Ascutney Hospital Employee Giving Fund Makes Grants to Improve Patient and Employee Experience

Traditions can be difficult to establish and even harder to sustain, but at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, the tradition of employees supporting the Hospital through both their devotion to their profession and their patients as well as through personal charitable support goes back a long way. Employee giving is part of the Hospital’s culture and has been enshrined in the Employee Giving Fund.

The founders of the original Windsor Hospital knew they would need help from many donors in the community to open a hospital in town. In 1932, in the middle of the Great Depression, they nonetheless set about generating local support to launch a hospital in Stoughton House. And they succeeded.

The physicians and nurses who staffed Windsor Hospital once it opened in January 1934 helped raise funds to keep it running; the first recorded “employee gift” can be found in the records of the Board of Trustees in 1935. When the antiquated hospital on Main Street was threatened with forced closure by the state in the late 1960’s, staff members, including some of those original physicians and staff members, took the lead in developing a plan and raising funds within the community to build the new Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center here on County Road.

Building on this history of active employee support, the Employee Giving Fund (EGF) was created to enable all staff members to pool their contributions to the Hospital and use those funds to acquire items that the staff feel would improve employee life or patient experience here at Mt. Ascutney Hospital. Through periodic grant cycles, the employee committee that oversees the distribution of these funds has been able to provide assistance to virtually every department and every program within the Hospital.

To date, employee donations to the Employee Giving Fund have totaled over $200,000, and those funds have been used for a wide variety of special purposes. More than $55,000 was raised among employees through the “commemorative brick” project during the Hospital’s last capital campaign to build a contemplative garden area on campus. Grants from the Employee Giving Fund have been used throughout the Hospital to purchase specialized medical and office equipment, furniture, even artwork. Items as diverse as a baby changing station for the Ottauquechee Health Center; a vein finder for the Emergency Department; a Whole Body Vibration Platform, and an Electro-Therapy device for pain control, muscle stimulation and improved wound healing; and much more. In the past four years alone, new EGF grants have totaled more than $80,000.

Last month, the Employee Giving Fund approved more than $22,500 new grant awards, providing seed funding for special services and funding the purchase of items to improve employees’ work life and patient services. Among the projects funded by employee donations in this latest round of EGF grants are:

For Radiology: A special lounge chair for mammography patient use;

For Oncology: An ice machine for infusion patient use and start-up funding for the Oncology Massage Program;

For Pediatrics: Educational materials on head lice treatment and eradication for use in family education efforts, along with digital thermometers and lice eradication supplies for distribution to needy families served by the department;

For the Hospice Program: Seed funding for a Music Thanatology service for patients and families facing the end of life;

For Outpatient PT: Bariatric chairs designed to accommodate overweight patients who exceed weight capacity of available furnishings;

For the Rehabilitation Unit: An Invacare Mariner Rehabilitation Shower Commode Chair, MP3 Players for use by long-term acute and rehab patients and a new digital camera;

For the Out-Patient Clinic at the Hospital and Ottauquechee: Three portable Spot Vital Sign monitors with stands to improve nursing efficiency;

For Physical Therapy at Ottauquechee Health Center: A treatment laser, a recumbent elliptical trainer, and a stereo system for installation in the newly enlarged Physical Therapy gym;

For Cardiac Rehabilitation: Recumbent Cycle and Elliptical Trainer for use in cardiac patient care and rehabilitation.

And more...The Employee Giving Fund is an inspiring example of the power of collective action and of the dedication and continuing commitment of our hospital community to helping keep Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center and Ottauquechee Health Center “a cut above.”