Dawn Fiema

Beaumont Care Manager Organizes Volunteer Group to Aid Elderly Patients

When COVID-19 hit Michigan hard this spring, Beaumont care manager Dawn Fiema was worried about more than just the physical health of her patients.

Dawn and the Beaumont’s Accountable Care Organization team work primarily with elderly patients living in skilled nursing facilities or managing advanced illnesses at home. Michigan’s stay-at-home order created challenges for these patients above and beyond their usual health care needs.

“We have so many patients that don’t have family or a strong support system,” she said. “When COVID hit I knew that they would need help and I thought, we need to help our communities. We need to be there for them.”

Dawn quickly organized a group of volunteers from her church called the Kirby Care Team. They started making and delivering masks to patients who needed them. Now, they’ve helped more than 70 people with things like grocery shopping, transportation, sending cards and care packages, or just making calls to check in and see if the patient is doing ok.

“So many of our patients are scared and not sure how they are going to get help,” Dawn explained. “We call them, start building a relationship and make sure they know they don’t have to be afraid because we will make sure they are taken care of.”

In the future, Dawn hopes to expand her group of volunteers, so they can connect with and help more people in the community.

“I went into nursing because I genuinely care about helping others,” she said. “If I can do this and make these patients feel more comfortable and at peace, then I’m going to keep finding ways to help.”