As the popular Christmas carol goes, “there’s no place like home for the holidays,” and that’s exactly what first responders in St. Charles County are facilitating for several residents of skilled nursing facilities in their community.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, St. Charles County Ambulance District [SCCAD] Paramedics will take three residents to their families’ holiday celebrations, affording them the opportunity to spend a few hours at home.
“To be a part of a Home for the Holidays trip is a very moving and rewarding experience for our staff,” said Ambulance District spokesman Kyle Gaines, “The expressions of joy on the faces of the resident and their family members when we enter someone’s home on Christmas are something we never forget.”
The ambulance district collaborates with social workers and leadership staff at the skilled nursing facilities in the county to identify good candidates for the program, and the trips are provided free of charge. Residents who participate are unable to travel by traditional vehicle due to medical conditions.
“We’ve had numerous residents participate over the years, and for each one, the trip was something they talked about for months to come,” said Teri Reiter, administrator at Delmar Gardens of O’Fallon.
Since Home for the Holidays’ inception more than 25 years ago, the ambulance district has provided trips for dozens of patients.