ER Survival Kits


“There are times that we have patients that come to our ED or are admitted that don’t have housing. We wanted to be able to send them with something to help protect them from the elements and provide shelter,” Johnna Smith, chief nursing officer at SIH Memorial Hospital of Murphysboro.

A grant from the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) is already showing positive results for southern Illinoisans battling homelessness. SIH St. Jospeh Memorial Hospital received a $7,250 grant to build and distribute Comfort Survival Kits.

SIH and its community partners have put a renewed focus on battling Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) including homelessness. According to the 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), Jackson County had the highest rate of poverty in Illinois at 25.4%.

Smith calls the kits “robust.” They come with a sleeping bag, tent, hygiene products, water bottle, snacks, lotion, maxi pads for females, oil for African American hair and more.

“…if we can provide just a little shelter and warmth during winter months for someone it feels better than to discharge them knowing they don’t have anything on hand to protect themselves from the elements,” Smith said.

The SIH Community Benefits team helped secure items for the comfort kits and the mission and values team from the SIH Corporate Office helped assemble them. Hospital staff handed out their first kit to a patient in need less than a week after the kits became available.