In 1958, a group of women met with the administrator at the old Kentucky Baptist Hospital on Barret Avenue to start the Baptist Hospitals Auxiliary. Two of the original founding members of the Auxiliary, Jet Owens and Ellen Roth, are still volunteering at Baptist Health Louisville and are lifetime members of the Auxiliary.
Kentucky Baptist Hospital changed its name to Highlands Baptist Hospital and then in the early '80s it changed again to Baptist Hospital Highlands. Baptist East was opened in St. Matthews in 1975. Due to a decrease in patient occupancy and the need to consolidate some services, Baptist Highlands closed and its services were moved to Baptist East. In 2013, Baptist East changed its name to Baptist Health Louisville.
The Auxiliary is a fundamental part of the Volunteer Department. The Auxiliary serves as a major fundraising arm of the hospital and remains an important liaison between the hospital and the Baptist churches. They set up different sales throughout the year to raise funds, which are in turn donated back to the hospital. All proceeds from the Gift Shop are donated back to the hospital to purchase equipment and fund special services and programs. The Auxiliary pledged $1 million for the new Park Tower in 2005. In 2011, another $1 million pledge was made to help pay for a biplane imaging system for use in the surgical area. In addition, they are instrumental in supporting several special projects throughout the year:
- Surgical pillows – purchase all supplies, sew, stuff and distribute more than 4,000 pillows each year. These pillows are given to all surgical patients and are known as cough pillows.
- ICU/CCU and Cardiac Care Center Waiting Room snacks – different churches and groups bring in individually wrapped snacks, which are placed in the ICU/CCU Refreshment Center for families of those patients.
- Sunshine basket – personal care items are brought in by groups for indigent patients. These are kept in the Pastoral Care office for distribution.
- Tray cards – groups from the local churches make up cards with Bible verses on them that are placed on bedside trays and in the waiting rooms by volunteers.
- Funding for indigent patients special needs – the Auxiliary provides a monthly check to some areas such as Patient Management Services, the Cancer Care Center, the Rehab Program and the Baptist Health Louisville Home Health Agency to help purchase medication and other items for discharged patients who are not covered by insurance.
- Magazines – the Auxiliary collects magazines that are less than one year old and distributes them to all the waiting areas in the hospital on a weekly basis.
- Activity Boxes/Books - The need for something for patients and families to do while visiting and waiting for tests was brought to the attention of the Auxiliary. An activity book was produced and placed in all outpatient and emergency waiting areas of the hospital. Additionally, activity boxes were created with coloring books, puzzles, playing cards and games for patients and visitors to access on the nursing units.
- My Little Bible - The Auxiliary purchases more than 3,500 of these books which are children's Bible stories and are given to all babies born at Baptist Health Louisville.
The members of the Auxiliary, in their help to the ill and the giving of their time, create an atmosphere of warmth and spirituality throughout Baptist Health Louisville. The gracious giving and Christian caring further uphold the long-standing tradition of volunteering at the hospital.