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Impact Stories

St. Charles Foundation funds courtesy parking shuttle at St. Charles Bend

Anyone who has spent any time at St. Charles Bend can tell you that our community is growing. Fast. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the hospital’s parking lots.

In June 2014, Jim Kirkbride, assistant VP of ancillary and support services, created a committee to tackle complaints about parking at the Bend campus. Among the many solutions generated by the committee was the idea for a courtesy shuttle as an additional way to engage and assist patients and visitors before they even entered the facility.

A grant from St. Charles Foundation made the concept a reality. Two electric six-passenger golf carts were purchased to carry patients from their parking spots to the hospital entrance. The shuttles began service in October 2014, the same week that St. Charles Bend instituted a new parking policy.

“Some of our older patients and those with minor mobility constraints benefit greatly from the shuttle,” said Lavon Medlock, supervisor of guest and volunteer service at St. Charles Bend. “Patients and caregivers have been very complimentary.”

The shuttle runs continuously from 6 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday looping through the various parking lots and stopping at the main entrances on the quarter of the hour. When volunteers are available, the shuttle also operates in the afternoon. The shuttle routinely transports about 25 people a day, sometimes up to 60 people depending on the weather. Caregivers may also take advantage, space permitting.

The driver has also been able to provide directions and help visitors find their vehicles when they can’t recall where they parked.

“In January, the driver found a woman wandering through Lot A by the Cancer Center looking cold and lost,” said Medlock. “He drove over to her, offered her some hand warmers and a ride around the parking lots until they found her car over by the Emergency Room at the other end of the campus. She was incredibly appreciative of his outreach.”

For that patient and so many others, the courtesy shuttle has provided a welcome service when they need it most.

“St. Charles Foundation is so glad we are able to provide this service for our patients and caregivers,” said Lisa Dobey, executive director of the Foundation. “We are committed to doing everything we can to make a visit to our Bend campus as convenient and positive as possible.”

To donate a financial gift to programs and services like this one, please contact St. Charles Foundation at 541-706-6996 or giving@stcharlesfoundation.org.