A special Resiliency Award was presented to Valley View by the Glenwood Springs Chamber and Resort Association at the organization’s superhero-themed gala on April 2, 2022. Valley View providers and staff were recognized for their perseverance in overcoming significant challenges presented by the pandemic, Grizzly Creek Fire and Glenwood Canyon mudslides. Valley View Chief of Staff and Hospitalist Brett Hesse, MD accepted the award, superhero style, on behalf of team Valley View.
Community leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic
Since March 2020, Valley View has been on the forefront of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff worked tirelessly to prepare for and respond to COVID-19. They have cared for thousands of members of the community – from providing COVID-19 testing to delivering the most advanced treatment in the region for those needing to be hospitalized with COVID-19. Staff doubled-down to work longer, harder hours. They assumed the burden of wearing layer upon layer of Personal Protective Equipment during their shifts. They also staffed new roles such as screeners and runners for lab specimens. They have done so while also bearing the additional stress that all community members have faced – the shutdowns, the school closures and the uncertainties of what lies ahead. Time and again, team Valley View has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to caring for their patients.
In addition to this direct patient care, the providers and staff have also served the public health of the community. Team members spent hours anticipating the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines and planning how to best bring in hundreds of individuals at a time and vaccinate them in a safe and timely manner. On December 16, 2020, Valley View administered the first vaccines in the entire community. From that day, it hosted over 90 clinics for the community, vaccinating approximately 13,000 community members at no cost. Staff from across Valley View volunteered at these clinics, administering nearly 26,900 doses, working long and exhausting hours in the hospital’s conference center.
Valley View’s leadership in administering COVID-19 vaccines is unique among hospitals and communities in Colorado. The investment in doing so enabled more community members to receive the vaccine earlier than had Valley View waited for other public health partners to do so. In turn, more individuals received the protection from the virus and possible illness and/or hospitalization.
Patient care during wildfires & mudslides
While in the midst of caring for those with COVID-19 and leading vaccine efforts, Valley View also had to respond to the Grizzly Creek Fire. Caregivers and staff rallied to protect patient care and anticipate possible evacuations. For example, the fire challenged supply routes for vital medical supplies. Valley View staff worked diligently and creatively to ensure that patient care would not be compromised. For those staff affected by the fire, they spent more time away from their families with longer commutes or even spending the night in Glenwood Springs to pick up their patient care shifts.
As with the Grizzly Creek Fire, the mudslides impacted the staff and medical staff and they worked to overcome it. Commutes doubled and stress with alternative routes increased. Yet team members worked together to support each other. From creative approaches for shifts to embracing long days, Valley View staff and medical staff leaned in. Some of the organization’s critical front-line staff even flew via helicopter and private plane to make their patient care shifts.
New services benefit the community
Throughout these unprecedented challenges, Valley View remained steadfast in its mission to care for its patients, continuing to respond to other healthcare needs in the community. For example, in January 2021, Valley View opened a new After Hours Urgent Care facility, located adjacent to the hospital’s emergency department. The After Hours Urgent Care offers a new level of care for the community between primary care and emergency room to treat minor health conditions. Valley View also began an open heart program, offering an advanced, specialized care close to home for our community members.
To not only respond to a global pandemic but also achieve so many other accomplishments is a powerful reflection of the tenacity and resilience of Valley View’s team, and one that is so deserving of special recognition.