To cancer patients, many of whom have difficulty keeping warm due to various
aspects of their treatment, there is nothing more uncomfortable than a
cold blanket or a chilly gown.
At Redlands Community Hospital, such hardships are a thing of the past,
thanks to a generous gift from the Redlands Community Hospital Foundation.
The Foundation recently provided funding for the Radiation Oncology Department
that enabled the purchase of an Enthermics blanket warmer for use in its
linear accelerator room.
“All the patients we treat have cancer,” said Matthew W. Delk,
Radiation Oncology supervisor. “Often, the chemotherapy or hormone
therapy that patients have undergone compromises their body’s ability
to regulate temperature. Then, we ask them to remove clothing so that
we can get to the area we need to treat. Our treatment room has to be
kept cool, and when patients have their temperature mechanism compromised
there’s nothing more comfortable than a warm blanket over them,
a warm sheet under them or a warm gown.”
Delk said the idea to purchase a blanket warmer came from the hospital’s
Women’s Health Imaging Center, which was already using one. As he
investigated acquiring one for Radiation Oncology he was told there might
be funds available through the Foundation. Delk contacted the Foundation,
which stepped forward and offered a helping hand.
“They were on board right away,” Delk said. “The blanket
warmer is definitely a blessing for my patients.
“We’re here to help the community by providing exceptional
care and this is just another way we can do that. Not only can we do that
by providing radiation therapy that cures their cancer, but now we can
treat them with as little discomfort as possible.”
The warmer, acquired in late May, is whisper quiet and has no moving parts.
With a capacity of 10 to 12 blankets, it quickly and efficiently heats
blankets to precise temperatures using patented zone heating technology.
At the same time, heated shelves ensure that every blanket is safely and
evenly warmed by adjusting temperatures throughout the cabinet. The Foundation’s
gift of $3,700 completely funded the purchase.
According to Delk, some 200 patients per month are enjoying the blanket
warmer’s benefits, and so far it has been well received. Roughly
half the of the 50 patients treated per week and using pre-warmed blankets
have commented positively—as has Radiation Oncology staff.
“When patients are comfortable and more at ease, it makes our job
easier,” Delk said. “When patients are nervous or cold it
makes treatment tougher on them and more challenging for us. Warm blankets
definitely take the edge off and make it more likely they will be compliant
with our requests.”
The gift was one of several provided by the Foundation during 2019. Earlier,
funding provided a wheelchair and orthopedic mattress for a patient in
the Transitional Care Unit. Before that, the Foundation financed the acquisition
of a birthing simulator and a lullaby system, both for Maternal Child
Services. Without Foundation assistance, many aids such as these would
“The Foundation does many things behind the scene, and we in the
department are very grateful that they provided funding for this important
amenity,” Delk said.