While many local businesses, especially small businesses, have had to close, Karla Wheeler, a founding member of the Press Club of Southwest Florida (previously the Naples Press Club), a current member of the board and co-chair of the Membership Committee, is now working harder than ever to ramp up to help families affected by COVID-19.
So how has Karla’s small publishing firm kept business going? Because during this pandemic, she and her team are rushing to develop and publish booklets to help healthcare workers and families. “We consider ourselves an essential business because we provide critical educational materials to healthcare organizations nationwide. In fact, we just launched a new brandable booklet, ‘Ventilator Use: A Guide for Seriously Ill Patients and Their Families.’ This resource is helping doctors and nurses educate families about ventilators, which has become a hot topic in the news.”
“When COVID-19 hit, and ‘ventilator’ became a household word, we realized doctors and nurses needed a booklet to explain – in laymen’s terms – what a ventilator is, what it is like to be on a ventilator, and risks that may be associated with ventilator use, especially among seriously ill patients,” explains Karla. While the booklet is primarily distributed through healthcare organizations that order it from Quality of Life Publishing on a branded, print-on-demand basis, the booklet will soon be available for purchase by the general public on Amazon as well.
In addition to the ventilator use guide, other booklets published by Karla’s firm have always been in high demand as families face the end-of-life of a loved one, such as the bestselling “When Death Is Near” and “When You Are Grieving” booklets.
“Our experienced team is now working on a grief booklet about sudden loss,” Karla notes. “We feel compelled to get this booklet out there to validate the unique grief that comes with sudden loss from COVID-19. Tens of thousands of families in the U.S. – hundreds of thousands around the world – are experiencing this type of heart-wrenching grief right now.” Karla adds that the booklet will also touch upon how difficult it is for these families to grieve together, since traditional gatherings such as funerals or memorial services are not being held because of social distancing.
Quality of Life Publishing will continue to publish more booklets on relevant topics for hospices, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations to support patients and families as they navigate serious illness, end of life, and bereavement. Karla says the editorial process of deciding which topics to publish happens organically as clients submit requests. The firm’s publications are also available in electronic format for healthcare organizations to distribute electronically while social distancing measures are in place.
Karla founded Quality of Life Publishing Co., located in Naples, in 1999 as an outgrowth of her family’s positive experience with hospice. She now has 10 employees. The company currently publishes about 30 booklets, selling about a million copies annually (priced affordably with their clients’ budgets in mind). Karla hopes the new booklets will help the company weather the economic downturn while bringing much-needed information and comfort to families across the country. During these challenging times, her team will be listening more closely than ever to the needs of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and others on the front lines of caring for families affected by this pandemic.