Kenton, OH,
06:00 AM

A Small Gesture Makes a Big Difference

OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital knows how to reach patients from all walks, or rides, of life.

Being a successful healthcare organization is about more than just providing the highest quality of medical care. It’s also about making sure care is convenient and accessible for patients and their families from the moment they park their cars, or buggies, to the moment they walk out the doors to return home.

OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital sees a very diverse population of patients, including Amish patients, who drive horsedrawn buggies to the hospital. Unlike patients who drive cars or ride the bus, these patients need a special kind of convenience when they come to receive care — hitching posts for their horses — and Hardin Memorial has two, one at the hospital and one at the medical office building. The posts are placed close to the building, comparable to handicap parking, and are covered by trees to provide shade for the horses.

“The hitching posts have been here for as long as I can remember,” says Bernadette Coats, RN, diabetes educator at Hardin Memorial, and a 40-year associate with lifelong relations with the nearby Amish community.

“I know they greatly appreciate the small gesture of giving them a place to tie up their horses,” says Linda Smith, director of patient relations at Hardin Memorial, remembering a time when an Amish patient was so pleased with her experience she gifted the hospital with a homemade quilt. “I think it really speaks to how accepting Hardin Memorial and OhioHealth are of all cultures.”

“Our hospital has always had a great relationship with the Amish community,” continues Linda. “The Amish try not to use healthcare services often since they don’t use insurance and traveling is more of an inconvenience for them, but when they do need it, we are glad that they choose to come here.”

In addition to the hitching posts, the hospital embraces the Amish community by providing billing assistance for patients and hosting weekly farmer’s markets in the summer where they can sell homegrown fruits and vegetables. The hospital also does as much as they can to avoid transfers to other hospitals because traveling long distances can be difficult when your only mode of transportation is a horse-drawn buggy.

“Taking care of patients –– all kinds of patients — is what we do. We have compassion to meet their needs, integrity to honor their beliefs and respect for their individual lifestyles,” says Linda.

This story was originally published in the November/December 2015 issue of UpFront, an OhioHealth associate publication.