Our Response to COVID-19
Update - 1/27/21
We hope that you and your family are maintaining safe, healthy lifestyles. With this ongoing pandemic threat and unstable political climate, it's been a trying time. While it often seems we cannot control the crises surrounding us, we can take ownership for our own health. We hope that everyone is taking time to go outside, breath fresh air and eat well. George Mark Staff and volunteers have continued to come to work with a positive mindset and extreme focus on upholding the strictest of COVID safety. We are so glad that we can continue serving patients and families throughout California, and remain safe doing so. George Mark remains COVID-free, not one case among our staff or our patients. We are grateful for the generous PPE donations, gifts, and thoughts from our community supporters.
We are very happy to report that our entire team has been through the first round of the vaccination process and will be completing the final round by mid-February. Thank you for continuing to trust us in caring for your children. We miss their faces so much and can’t wait to see them again!
As the state moves through its vaccine plan, it is important that you are aware of your vaccine eligibility status as well. On January 13, 2021 Governor Newsom released a statement which explains that family members caring for certain specialized groups with qualifying diagnosis (epilepsy, specialized healthcare needs, cerebral palsy) are in the vaccine priority group 1A.
You can contact your Regional Center, pediatrician, or health plan for verifying documentation of your child’s health status. The following steps differ from county to county. Some California counties have vaccination sites, while other are having individuals use their health care plans. Be sure to check your county’s website regarding the vaccine distribution.
Please take care of yourselves. Also know, George Mark Children’s House is an essential service meaning that respite care is critical to overall functioning and shouldn't be neglected. To schedule a respite stay, please contact us at (510) 346-1285.
Update - 6/24/20
Resumption of All Services at George Mark
George Mark Children’s House has now opened up all of our services for patients: Respite Care, End of Life Care, and Transitional Care. With the State of California’s Shelter in Place Order lifted, we are continuing to follow the same stringent health and safety protocols to protect our medically fragile patients. All clinical and administrative staff has been trained, providing the extraordinary care and service that is the hallmark at George Mark.
We have also re-opened our Volunteer Program in staggered phases, starting on June 1, with one volunteer per shift. On July 1, we will expand our Volunteer Program by increasing the number of volunteers per shift as the patient census rises throughout the summer months.
For volunteering opportunities, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Katie Pena, at email@example.com.
To schedule a respite stay or to make a referral for a child for any of our services, please contact our Case Manager, Kathy Chong-Lee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update - 5/1/20
Resumption of Respite Care Services at George Mark
With the health and safety of our staff and patients at the forefront, George Mark Children’s House has resumed respite care services. We enthusiastically welcome our respite families back for care and reservations for future stays.
In collaboration with our medical advisory board, our nursing leadership and in consultation with Dr. Louis Girling, Medical Director of Children’s Health Services for Alameda County Department of Health, the County’s Epidemiologist and the Regional Centers, our Medical Director, Dr. Joan Fisher has reviewed and approved the new Admissions protocols. All GMCH nursing staff have received updated training on the new protocols and been furnished with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The good news is that even with the State’s shelter in place order, respite care for fragile children with chronic complex life limiting conditions constitutes an “essential service”.
Please email our Case Manager, Kathy Lee at Klee@georgemark.org or call her directly (510) 346-1285, to reserve time for the exceptional respite care provided at George Mark.
Update - 4/8/20
Dear George Mark Community:
Our mission at George Mark Children’s House is to be the center of excellence in pediatric palliative care. Every day we make a lovely difference in the lives of children with life-limiting diagnoses. Our focus remains unchanged, even as these past few weeks have brought unprecedented challenges and much uncertainty.
- With the temporary suspension of our respite program and the decrease in revenue associated with these services, we face significant financial challenges. Our assurance to every employee that full salaries will continue throughout the duration of this crisis guarantees that they can provide uninterrupted services to our patients and families. If you can help, please click on the Donate button above.
- Last year, we planned and launched the first West Coast Pediatric Palliative Care Summit, in partnership with Stanford University, attracting more than 150 physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and Chaplains. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and planning is underway for the next Summit, February 1-2, 2021.
- We also started a new Nursing Education Program, funded by the Hearst Foundation, in conjunction with Holy Names College and Samuel Merritt University School of Nursing. The goal is to prepare locally trained nurses in the specialized skills they need to care for pediatric patients.
The most visible change at George Mark this year is our new Restorative Garden, which will transform the last quadrant of the undeveloped property on the George Mark campus. The garden project, designed by award-winning Arterra Landscape Architects, would not be possible without the generosity of Arterra and more than 40 pro bono contractors, who are providing labor, materials, and specialized services. The Garden will provide wheelchair accessible outdoor space for our patients to enjoy, and an inviting destination for our families, staff, and volunteers to find comfort and regeneration.
Update - 3/19/20
Dear George Mark Community:
None of us, even with a crystal ball, could have predicted the earthquake-like shift in landscape that has changed our lives so dramatically in the last week. All of us at GMCH hope that as you read this, your families are safe. In our unwavering commitment to continue support for everyone who needs us, particularly in these challenging times, we want you to know:
- George Mark is open and ready to provide care and services for End of Life referrals.
- Our medical and psychosocial staff are on call, should the need arise for these essential services.
- Reluctantly, we have suspended our respite program. We will reschedule respite stays as soon as the COVID-19 mandate changes.
- For additional information, please follow this link to a message from our CEO, Linda Ashcraft Hudak.