Above and Beyond Standard Care: The Patient and Family Assistance Fund

Northwestern Medicine
News October 17, 2013

A 24-year old woman was brought into Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department after being involved in a hit- and-run accident. She needed multiple medical procedures, follow-up care and increased home support. Despite having some insurance coverage, she was unable to secure durable medical equipment for her home, which she would be returning to alone. Without the aid of this equipment she would have difficulty sleeping, making meals, using the bathroom and moving from room to room.

Fortunately, the Northwestern Memorial’s Patient and Family Assistance Fund covered the costs of durable medical equipment and ensured that the young woman had the healthiest, quickest possible recovery. This fund, which is financed entirely through philanthropy, helped Northwestern Memorial provide additional care and services to 118 patients and families in the last fiscal year. These patients come from all over the United States as well as from other countries such as Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

“The Patient and Family Assistance Fund helps those who need a level of assistance that insurance doesn’t cover, or who perhaps don’t have medical coverage,” says Jessica Soos Pawlowski, LCSW, clinical practice manager. “The program can impact any patient at any time.”

Most often, patients need additional services such as home nursing visits, transportation and housing for extended patient stays at the Worcester House, a nearby apartment complex. But the Patient and Family Assistance Fund can cover a wide variety of needs, such as clothing for patients who enter through the Emergency Department and have their clothing cut away, stays at single room occupancy hotels for homeless patients who are receiving IV antibiotics, meals and cab vouchers.

The Patient and Family Assistance Fund is supported by donors who want to have an immediate, direct connection to improving patient care. Meghan Finn, LSCW, says, “A small donation can cover two trips on the CTA for a patient who needs to come to the hospital but can’t afford to. Twenty dollars can buy a car seat for a mom who comes in to deliver her baby. Every single dollar makes an impact.”

To donate online to the Patient and Family Assistance Fund, please click here. For more information about this program, please contact Kathryn Michael of Northwestern Memorial Foundation via email or at 312.926.4115