Poinsettias for Patients program brings warmth to holidays and beyond

January 7, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

The year-end holidays have come and gone and a new year is underway. But thanks to the generosity of faculty and staff, the warmth of the holiday season at Michigan Medicine will carry over well into 2020.

On Monday, Dec. 23, a team of Michigan Medicine staff and volunteers delivered poinsettia plants to inpatient units throughout the Adult Hospitals: University Hospital and Frankel Cardiovascular Center. Nurses on those units then had the pleasure of delivering the plants to their patients.

The poinsettias were paid for — and donated by — Michigan Medicine employees who devote their time, energy and expertise to patients throughout the year. And for that, the organizers of this project are incredibly grateful.

A patient receives a poinsettia in his hospital room.

Support from faculty and staff

“I want to personally thank everyone who supported Poinsettias for Patients this year,” said Sheri Chisholm, MSIE, senior project manager for Michigan Medicine Adult Hospitals and coordinator of the poinsettia program. Chisholm worked with both the Junior League of Ann Arbor and Turner Nursery to coordinate the sale and distribution of the plants.

“Because of you, we were able to provide a very special gift to 626 patients,” Chisholm said.

In its second year, the Poinsettias for Patients program saw tremendous growth from the 158 plants donated in 2018.

Shon Dwyer, R.N., M.B.A., executive director of the Michigan Medicine Adult Hospitals, issued a special message of gratitude to employees as well.

“I want to thank you for your generosity and for making the holidays brighter for our patients and their families,” said Dwyer. “Your generous hearts fill others up when they need it the most.”

In all, 626 poinsettias were delivered to patient rooms.

Givers and receivers both benefit

“What I love about this effort, as well as this time of year, is that it provides an opportunity for us to come together as a unified team and show our gratitude, appreciation and recognition of our patients and families,” said Molly Dwyer-White, M.P.H., administrative director for the Office of Patient Experience.

“Though the care we provide to patients is daily, this delivery of bright, cheery flowers elevates our big heartedness, and allows a moment of interconnectedness that I think we all need.”

Dwyer-White then recalled a patient who lit up when he received a plant this year, telling staff this was his best Christmas ever.

“He was moved by the great care he’s received, and the extra attention to him as an individual,” she said.  “There’s no better gift than that.”

Chisholm added that the impact was felt beyond the patients.

“The joy from the poinsettias was spread not only to patients but also to the staff on the units who were excited for the opportunity to deliver the plants to patients,” she said.

Continued impact

In addition to spreading holiday cheer, the Poinsettias for Patients program raised money to support the purchase of blankets provided to all inpatients as well as those visiting the Emergency Department or having surgery during the holidays.

Proceeds from the poinsettia sale will also support the development of a University Hospital Family Center, which will offer helpful resources and a place of rest and renewal for patients and families in the future.

The benefits of the poinsettia program are immediate and ongoing, and will continue to grow with the help of faculty and staff.

“The support of this year’s program was so amazing,” said Chisholm. “I’m already looking forward to next year!”