Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Cookeville Mended Hearts Discontinued After 20+ Years

Cookeville Mended Hearts Chapter 127 will end its visitation services at Cookeville Regional due to a lack of volunteers.

President Blanche Smithers said Mended Hearts is a group of accredited visitors that meets with patients and their families during the process of heart surgery. She told the Cookeville Regional Board of Trustees Thursday night that after COVID stopped the organization’s visits for three years, the organization fell apart.

“We can not get volunteers,” Smithers said. “The young people don’t want to volunteer and the older ones have lost volunteering. A lot of us just got other interests, a lot of them died, and we’ve just, a lot of them just lost interest.”

Cookeville Mended Hearts was chartered in 1997 with 25 members and grew to some 140 by the time the pandemic began. She said upon returning from the COVID hiatus, they were down to five visitors.

Cookeville Regional Chief Financial Officer Tommye Rena Wells said the hospital will hold meetings over the next month to discuss ways to provide patients with a similar service.

“They are going to be sorely missed,” Wells said. “They, as she has said, they’ve contributed greatly to just our community and just all of the people, and it makes us very sad that they are not going to be able to continue.”

Smithers said the primary focus of the group is to make heart surgery a more comfortable experience for patients and their families.

“I just want to thank the hospital for the things that you all have done for us,” Smithers said. “You have given us a meeting room every month for our monthly meetings you have provided different things for us. Rooms for bake sales, silent auctions, such as that.”

Smithers said the money generated by those fundraisers has been used to purchase AEDs that Mended Hearts distributed across the Upper Cumberland. She said the organization has given out 247 AEDs which cost some $1,300 apiece.

In other business, the board approved the purchase of consulting services from Clinical Intelligence. The service will seek to improve processes at the hospital in an effort to improve care.