Spreading good cheer: Employees help patients, families celebrate the holidays

January 7, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

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Faculty and staff across Michigan Medicine made sure that those who spent the past few weeks at the academic medical center didn’t miss out on some holiday cheer.

From passing out blankets and fleece hats to delivering poinsettia plants and fresh-baked cookies, here are just a few ways employees helped patients and families celebrate the holidays at Michigan Medicine.

Cookies and comfort

Patients and families on 12W at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital enjoyed more than a day full of Christmas spirit.

Beginning on Christmas Eve and lasting through the next day, faculty and staff distributed more than 300 cookies that they had baked. They passed them around to patients, families and staff members, along with some fresh-brewed hot chocolate. Patients also received fleece hats donated by Fleece and Thank You, an area nonprofit. Finally, there was a raffle for families to win gingerbread houses created by employees.

“Our goal was to transport both the adults back to their childhood and the kids away from being here in the hospital,” said Lynn Hubrecht, the day unit host on 12W. “And I think we were able to do just that.”

Meanwhile, in the Brandon Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Zingerman’s Deli sponsored a catered lunch on Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas Day, gift bags were passed around to every room. The bags were filled with goodies donated by area businesses.

Going shopping — without leaving the hospital

Not all families had gifts delivered directly to their rooms. However, parents didn’t have to venture far in order to come away with something unique this holiday season.

For the sixth straight year, the playroom at Mott was transformed into a toy store, filled with free gifts that parents could pick out and give to their children who are in the hospital (or any siblings).

The store was run by Mott Community Relations.

“This is a blessing,” said Nanah London, who selected toys for her daughter and two other children. “My wife and I have already decided for next year, we want to be two of the many people who donate to this cause for the families who will be here over the holidays.”

Sunday Funday

The faculty and staff on 6E at University Hospital took it up a notch during one recent weekend, declaring a “Sunday Funday!”

“Our nurses and other staff members put on fun socks, headbands and even festive drink cozies, which they didn’t hesitate to show off to patients and families,” said Christy Richard, a registered nurse on 6A. “It was an easy way to make patients smile and laugh, if even for just a day.”

New ways to celebrate

This year, patients in the adult hospitals found some new ways to celebrate the holidays, as well.

For instance, the Rogel Cancer Center held a snowman building competition. Each team of employees was tasked with decorating a styrofoam snowman and patients and family members then had the opportunity to vote on the winning design.

Additionally, dozens of poinsettia plants — which were purchased by faculty, staff and friends of Michigan Medicine during a fundraising event in November — were delivered directly to inpatients at University Hospital.

Proceeds from the poinsettia sale also helped to purchase other comfort items for patients, including blankets, which were handed out over the holiday season.

“Staff work diligently around the clock to ensure that patients not only receive great care, but a great experience at Michigan Medicine,” said Molly White, administrative director for the Office of Patient Experience. “But this time of year, patients and families can feel particularly vulnerable or isolated — with lives disrupted and events suspended. Sometimes it’s the little things that can brighten a day, and it’s so great to see that small gestures make a big difference.”

Check out the photo gallery above for a look back at all of the holiday fun at Michigan Medicine!