Providing good care to patients and families occurs every day of the week throughout the year. There are some days, however, that make it a harder day to be in the hospital, and away from family…such as holidays. The University Hospitals Patient and Family Advisory Council provided input about what it is like to be in the hospital over the holidays, and noted that while it’s tempting to pretend a holiday isn’t happening, the patient and family know better, and would appreciate any effort to make them feel connected to something beyond their health. One PFCC patient advisor, Georgiann Ziegler, shared a story of when she was in the hospital over New Year’s eve. When her meal was delivered, she had sparkling grape juice included in a fluted glass – which gave her some cheer, and she exclaimed to her care team, “this is perfect, since I was already in my backless blue gown!”
The UH PFAC learned, through a partnership with UH PFAC member, Maureen Schuster, Unit Host to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU), that while some units in the University Hospital might do something extra for patients over the holidays, there was nothing done system-wide. So, after discussion and exploration, set out to ensure that over the December holiday season, the PFCC Program would set out to provide a cheerful, colorful blanket to each and every patient that would be with UMHS over the holiday weekend. Cathy Kendrick, Clinical Nurse Manager, shared that when she passed the blankets out to the patients in her unit, they were “overwhelmed with joy.”
The Mott hospital has recognized this need for years, and has set up a donation program to bring the holiday spirit to the children’s hospital. Extending this to the adult patient units this year wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Byron Myer. Byron Myer is the Community Relations Coordinator at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. In his role at Mott, Byron coordinates all of the material donations for Mott, in addition to planning special events for the patients together with our generous partners in the community. Byron helped secure 550 blankets to help cover our patients this year, and the wonderful UMHS FRIENDS Program provided funds to help purchase those that were not donated. Importantly, Maureen Schuster worked with the PFCC Program to coordinate with the Unit Hosts across the hospital to help ensure that once delivered, the blankets will be shared, and with Laundry Services to borrow carts to help deliver the blankets. Local teens helped apply ribbons and tags. And UMHS Nurses assisted in blanket distribution. Truly a team effort!
And, for those patients and families on the adult side that were known to have children visiting them over the holiday weekend, the PFCC Program partnered again with Byron and his team, as well as UMHS Social Work, and nursing, to shop for their children at the “Mott Toy Shop”. The Mott Toy Shop helps these parents provide their child a holiday experience even while spending their holiday in the hospital.
The PFCC Program considers this a first step towards extending holiday warmth and comfort to the adult services side of the hospital in a systematic way, and will be working on programmatic efforts to sustain these and other initiatives in the new year. If you are interesting in learning more, or have ideas or would like to contribute to these efforts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Holidays to you and yours!