Home Base

Home Base Reflections from Boston Hope Medical Center

As we begin to enter a new reopening phase from the COVID-19 pandemic,  we would like to recognize the team at Home Base who have gone above and beyond their core missional duties to serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 50 team members answered the call and cared for more than 700 COVID-19 patients at Boston Hope Medical Center – the largest field hospital in the state.

Last week, Mass General Brigham, in conjunction with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker, announced that the Boston Hope Medical Center will suspend the acceptance of new admissions. In total, 723 men and women from across eastern Massachusetts were brought to Boston Hope for care and comfort. 

Fifty-three days after Boston Hope opened its doors, on June 2, the last patient was discharged.

To mark the closing of Boston Hope, we invite you to watch this tribute video, which was shared with all Boston Hope staff, and we invite you to see a video of the last patients being discharged from Boston Hope.

We invite you to hear from our own staff by reading their reflections from their time at Boston Hope. 

The U.S. military has long played a key role in helping American communities respond to natural disasters and other public health emergencies. For National Guard Captain Laura Lakin, the Mass General Brigham’s coronavirus response is also a unique opportunity to serve.

As Home Base’s Director of Administration and Business Analytics, Lakin oversees Human Resources,  facility operations, and technology and data for the organizations. Since “day one” Lakin was redeployed to Boston Hope, serving in the critical role of Site Manager.

“I was heavily involved in the physical site planning as well as the clinical administrative support to iron out workflows and processes for Boston Hope prior to opening. Once we opened, I was responsible for the entire facility, making sure that all non-clinical components were operational and efficient in supporting clinical operations. ”

For Lakin, energizing is the best way to describe her experience at Boston Hope. She has not only been invigorated by the mission but by the people who have answered the call and worked alongside her. “I am grateful to work with brilliant and dedicated people from across our healthcare system and beyond. One of those people is Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP, Mass General chief nurse emerita. Seeing her leadership style and ability to leverage relationships in action is truly inspiring. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work so closely with her – and many others – here at Boston Hope.”

As she wraps up her time at Boston Hope, Lakin says the effectiveness of rapid decision making during the response to COVID-19 is something she looks forward to bringing back to her role at Home Base.

Our Senior Clinical Exercise Physiologist Heidi Dotson co-led the wellness mission at Boston Hope, overseeing a team dedicated to providing Boston Hope patients wrap-around care in their journey of recovery.

“It’s been truly amazing to see the Greater Boston community rally around the patients at Boston Hope through donations of art, music, and supplies. The role of wellness and integrative therapies can fundamentally change health and healing. The impact of a community artist’s live musical performance or scenic photographs can dramatically impact the spirit and course of healing for a patient. Boston Hope embraced the role of integrative therapies and patients are lucky enough to get it all here.”

After nearly 6 years as an exercise physiologist, working through a pandemic was not necessarily in Dotson’s plans, but “It’s all about resiliency. There is one patient that will always stick with me. He was with us for a long time, because he didn’t want to risk spreading the disease to his at-risk family members. No matter how rough he was feeling, he always made it a point to do something kind for other patients. This experience has changed the way I look at health care delivery for a long time.”

Prior to her redeployment to Boston Hope on April 14 Home Base Registered Dietitian, Nicolette Maggiolo, RD, LDN, managed the clinical and culinary nutrition program for Home Base, providing individual nutrition consults, group nutrition classes and educational cooking demonstrations for Veterans, Service Members, and their Families.

At Boston Hope, Maggiolo served as manager of Nutrition and Food Services, overseeing a team of registered dietitians, diet technicians, and food service employees.

“The amount of work that has gone into establishing and maintaining this operation is truly unbelievable,” says Maggiolo. “The task has certainly required a lot of hard work and many long days. Our team essentially built a clinical nutrition and food services operation from the ground up inside the convention center. Without a doubt, there have been learning curves and we work hard every day to ensure patients and staff are well-nourished.”

Maggiolo notes her team must constantly evolve and adapt. “The dedicated and compassionate colleagues we work with make this place so special. The comradery and unity that come with serving such an important mission is remarkable. Every single person in this building, and every single person supporting us from afar, is integral to the mission. There really is nowhere else I would rather be.”

She says Boston Hope has given her a renewed sense of purpose. “I am a civilian ‘re-deployed’ and working side-by-side with many Army Reserve and National Guard personnel at Boston Hope. Together, we are connected by a central mission. While I have never served in the military, I have felt more connected to my Home Base veteran and service member patients than ever before.”

Maggiolo has further taken joy in the many fun food-related posters shared at Boston Hope, created by children which have helped boost the morale with sayings such as, “You are a pineapple. You are tough on the outside but sweet on the inside. You wear a crown like a pineapple, and you stand tall like a pineapple.”

When asked what one word would describe his experience at Boston Hope, Home Base Director of Development Dan Arkins, who served 33 years in the U.S. Army, says gratitude comes top of mind. “In a time where there is a lot of division in our country, my faith in the basic goodness and generosity of individuals and companies has been greatly reinforced.”

In early April, Arkins was redeployed to serve as Charitable Donations Coordinator for the medical center, “There’s an old saying in the military: Never leave a man or a woman behind – and that’s what we did at Boston Hope.”

During his time at Boston Hope, Arkins served as the primary liaison between retailers, individuals, organizations, and businesses, providing in-kind donations to support the COVID-19 response and ensuring all patients were provided with as much care and comfort as possible.

“It was incredible to see the outpouring of support, to include some of our own Home Base community,” he said. “Home Base supporters were instrumental in making valuable connections and access to their business and customer networks. We, quite literally,  could not have provided much of this support to our patients and staff without the generosity and action by our Home Base supporters.”

As he reflects back on his time, Arkins says with the redeployment of staff across the organization, he’s had the opportunity to work with and meet colleagues he normally wouldn’t encounter. Some – leaving behind long-lasting impressions. “Dr. Ron Hirschberg, for one, is one of the most genuine and caring people I have ever met. As Chief Medical Officer at Boston Hope, every day, he has kept his focus on providing the best possible medical care while maintaining a  clear line of sight on both staff and patient mental and physical well-being.”

As we begin to look ahead, we want to express our immense gratitude to our supporters who continue to show their dedication to Home Base and Boston Hope in a multitude of ways. From care packages for our staff and patients to the donation of office supplies and monetary gifts to support the COVID-19 response at Boston Hope and Mass General Hospital, we are incredibly grateful for all you have done for our staff, patients, and community.

Home Base Red, White and Blue Alliance Members
Pat Aube
Jean Tempel
Seth Burr and Darrin Lang; LABUR
Stop & Shop
Paula Goldfarb, New Balance 
Bob Haarde, AT&T
Rich Rollins, Bose Corporation
Chris Anderson, Massachusetts High Technology Council