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Published on May 01, 2020

Poland Spring® fills the need for hand sanitizer containers at field hospital

Poland Spring Donation

There were many challenges to setting up the COVID-19 field hospital at Joint Base Cape Cod recently, one of which was having enough hand sanitizer for staff. Manufacturer shortages meant the team would have to make its own, said Director of Hospital Pharmacy for Cape Cod Healthcare James Mangan, RPh.

Using a formula approved by the state Department of Public Health and the U.S. Pharmacopeia (which sets quality standards for medicines, food ingredients and dietary supplements) several members of the pharmacy team prepared to mix the hand sanitizer solution at Cape Cod Hospital. A team from the pharmacy, materials management and purchasing departments were able to obtain the ingredients from various sources; but finding enough containers to put it in proved more daunting, he said.

Then, a colleague of Mangan’s at Maine Medical Center suggested he approach bottled water giant Poland Spring® Water for help, and the company did not hesitate.

“No questions asked, within a week, they sent me 1,000 (empty) bottles,” Mangan said. The 700-ml bottles with the sport cap that flips up and down were exactly what he was looking for.

“They really saved the day, because I was able to get a few containers here and there, but nothing to the extent of setting up a field hospital or meeting the needs of a health system like ours” he said.

The hand sanitizer wall pump refills at both Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital are being filled with hospital-prepared sanitizer and there is no concern about that supply, Mangan said. The Poland Spring bottles are being used for staff who need them on desks, mobile carts, or work spaces within the health system.

“At Nestlé Waters North America, we remain focused on how we can best support the communities where we live and work during this public health crisis,” said Poland Spring Community Relations Manager Heather Printup. “So far, we’ve committed to provide more than 250,000 bottles nationwide to be filled with hand sanitizer. We’re honored to come together with Cape Cod Healthcare to help fill this critical need.”

Mangan credited Vice President of Budgeting and Operational Support Noelene Cervin with identifying the need for hand sanitizer early on in the process.

“By jumping on it sooner, rather than later, we were able to make sure we had it on time,” he said.

Elizabeth Veneri in purchasing helped source the ingredients for the sanitizer solution, and Functional System Analyst Kjellander “KJ” Ray also played a big part in securing the ingredients, he said. Both Housekeeping Departments are also instrumental in the ongoing efforts, he added.

“This was not just a pharmacy effort; it was a multidisciplinary effort,” Mangan said.