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Our Stories

TakeCare spreading kindness one comfort kit at a time

Toronto, August 22, 2018

By Madison Thakore

TakeCare kits

It is sometimes the simplest of actions that can have the biggest impact.

Diandra Budd, a researcher at the Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease with St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto, began her non-profit organization, TakeCare, with that exact thought in mind.

“TakeCare started from a need I saw as a hospital volunteer in pediatrics,” explains Budd. “Parents would ask me to stay with their child for 15 minutes while they took a shower, but then I would realize we didn’t have the resources for caregivers like we did for children in regards to personal care items. I thought – what could I do to help these parents?”

TakeCare kits are delivered to parents whose newborn children are experiencing extended hospital stays in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units or Pediatrics Departments. When newborn children are admitted unexpectedly, the caregivers' sole focus becomes their child, often putting aside their own needs. TakeCare kits are filled with items such as soap, shampoo, adult colouring books and cozy socks. While these all may seem like simple products, Budd explains these comfort kits can be just what some parents need after nights by their child’s bedside.

Thirteen hospitals across the country currently offer TakeCare comfort kits, including in the NICU, the Family Birthing Centre and the paediatric units at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and in the NICU at St. Michael’s Hospital. TakeCare hopes to develop its work even further, with plans of expanding to Northern rural health centres.

Did you know?
More than 200 TakeCare kits have been delivered to families at St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s!

“For our families, the TakeCare kit offers a small dose of comfort in the hospital while they are at their baby’s bedside, ensuring they are able to maintain their own self-care and wellness,” says Vivian Zhang, a social worker in St. Michael’s NICU. “It’s truly rewarding to see the parents be cared for in this way, allowing them to focus on their baby.”

Budd expresses her passion for using her kits to make others smile and speaks to what the organization has meant to her.

“TakeCare has led me to hear so many stories from parents staying in the NICU for weeks or months or how they know someone going through a similar situation. People who are absolute strangers have all come together to do more than I could ever imagine to help support TakeCare and these families.”

TakeCare is a non-profit organization, founded by Diandra Budd, delivering comfort kits, packed with personal care items, to caregivers of children facing unexpected hospital stays. Their mission is to take care of the needs of parents, so they can take the best care of their children. More information about donations and partnership opportunities.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 29 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

St. Michael’s Hospital with Providence Healthcare and St. Joseph’s Health Centre now operate under one corporate entity as of August 1, 2017. United, the three organizations serve patients, residents and clients across the full spectrum of care, spanning primary care, secondary community care, tertiary and quaternary care services to post-acute through rehabilitation, palliative care and long-term care, while investing in world-class research and education.

See More of Our Stories in 2018