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GRMC Community Avails of Hospital’s Resources and Aid in Wake of Typhoon Mawar

(Thursday, June 15, 2023; Dededo, Guam) Guam Regional Medical City (GRMC) has extended its resources to assist hospital staff and their family members as they await the island’s recovery from the recent Typhoon Mawar.

Since Guam’s return to Condition of Readiness (COR) 4 on Thursday, May 25th, GRMC provided shelter for its employees whose homes were destroyed or deemed unlivable due to excessive flooding or loss of power and water. Staff were provided with cots, blankets, and disposable pillows in designated sleeping areas throughout the hospital.

Shortly after the typhoon, family members were welcome to utilize the hospital’s Lower Lobby designated facilities to shower and charge their devices. GRMC Human Resources Generalist Kimberly Eleco shared, “I appreciated that GRMC welcomed our employees’ families, to include my own immediate family, in using the shower facilities during a time the island needed it the most.”

Other resources, such as ice and self-service laundry machines, were also made available. Staff volunteers would pre-package gallon bags of non-consumable ice and distribute it at the end of each day to staff in need. A washer and dryer were purchased by the hospital’s morale team for staff to do their laundry during their scheduled hourly slot.

GRMC’s Human Resources (HR) team acted quickly in ensuring staff were provided support in any way possible. Staff were immediately able to avail solo or group counseling services at the hospital from community partners, International Health Providers (IHP), and local counselor, Risha Aguon, for those who experienced any trauma or emotional distress as a result of the typhoon.

Rachel Juliatti, a registered nurse with GRMC’s Emergency Department (ED), shares that she had never experienced a typhoon before as a Brazil native. She expressed her gratitude in being able to avail of GRMC’s assistance, especially with counseling services. Juliatti said, “[Typhoon Mawar] was not a happy experience, but I feel grateful that I had the support that I needed.”

The HR team also worked with the Marketing & Communications department in orchestrating a donation drive that occurred from Monday, June 5 to Friday June 16, to help aid staff with basic necessities: non-perishable, unexpired foods and toiletries, beddings, and clothes in new, unopened, or clean and gently used conditions.

GRMC Director of Care Management & Coordination, Mary Grace Libo-on, was one of many employees who were greatly affected by Typhoon Mawar; she lost her home and her car. She shared her experience of when a team from GRMC came to rescue her after being trapped in her bathroom for 12 hours throughout the typhoon and helped board up her shattered windows. “For employees like me, who suffered catastrophic losses during this typhoon, GRMC has become our refuge,” Libo-on said. “I could go on and talk about all the things we were offered by GRMC, but the most striking and important things is that we [show] compassion in a time of loss and pain, and we lived up to our mission: to treat and care for our patients and their family members as we would a beloved family member. We all treated one another as a family member would.”

GRMC had also arranged for representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist staff in the hospital’s Lower Lobby for those who needed to apply for aid.

Diana Masga, GRMC ED Unit Secretary, had suffered major damages to her home, which made it unlivable for her and her son. She shared that she spoke to her department manager, GRMC ED Manager, Ray San Nicolas, who worked with the HR department to find living accommodations for her and her son at a hotel for a few days, while she awaited the status of FEMA’s assistance. San Nicholas had also helped place her on the list to be contacted for self-laundry services at the hospital. Masga expressed, “We cannot believe the amount of assistance we have already received since the typhoon. Words are just not enough to express the gratitude, heartfelt relief, and comfort from [GRMC] and my [ED] manager!”

As the island remains in a state of emergency, GRMC will continue to provide these accommodations and utilize the best of its resources to support its staff during these challenging times. GRMC expresses their sincerest gratitude to all agencies working tirelessly to help our island recover from Typhoon Mawar.

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