Hospitals across Washington State have their own ways of celebrating the holidays each year, with special festivities that make the day and season special. Here are a few of the ways WSHA members celebrate:
Virginia Mason Memorial
Virginia Mason Memorial has a reputation for making some very delicious holiday roles (as noted in our Thanksgiving feature a few weeks ago.), and the rolls are also featured when the café staff serves the hospital’s annual holiday meal for team members. The complimentary holiday feast was Dec. 13 this year, midway between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year’s menu, for an expected 1,800 hungry employees, also included top sirloin steak, sockeye salmon, roasted vegetables, Caesar salad, dessert bars and plant-based, options such as sweet potato pot pie.
At Trios Health, a couple administrative team members will deliver special blankets to admitted patients on Christmas day. This is a long-standing tradition and one that those patients, who unfortunately find themselves in the hospital on Christmas, greatly appreciate. It’s their way of giving them a hug. They will also be serving a special holiday meal in both their hospitals (Trios Southridge Hospital and Trios Women’s & Children’s Hospital). The meal is free to medical staff and other staff working that day. The menu includes a generous plate, including ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables and dessert. And of course, they have decorated their facilities, making the most of the season’s colors, including their signature Trios greens.
Providence St. Peter and Centralia
Providence St. Peter and Providence Centralia hospitals celebrated the holidays with a special free meal for all caregivers Dec. 5 at St. Peter (including a midnight to 1 a.m. meal into Dec. 6) and Dec. 6 at Providence Centralia (including a midnight-1 a.m. serving on Dec. 7). The meals included chicken, prime rib, potatoes, green beans, salads, desserts, drinks (egg nog too) and more. Board members and leadership team members served the meal.
Both hospitals are also adopting dozens of local families for Christmas. They partner with the Family Support Center of Puget Sound, and their caregivers come out in force to support this in both Centralia and Olympia. They also had a “wrapping” party at each hospital, which took place Dec. 13 in Centralia and Dec. 14 at St. Peter.
Summit Pacific Medical Center
Summit Pacific Medical Center kicked off a brand new program this holiday season, organizing a Holiday Meal Pack program. Summit Pacific staff are working hard to put together 120 holiday meals that generous staff and community members have purchased to donate to patients and patient families who are in need of a holiday meal and cheer this season. This week, volunteers are assembling all the meal bags for people to pick up, and they will even be delivering to those who cannot pick up. Learn more about the program.
Summit Pacific’s Spirit Team also hosts a series of fun events for staff to participate in throughout the season, including a craft night, festival of lights parade entry, mug exchange, festive sweater day and the annual gingerbread house competition. Gingerbread houses are created by departments and displayed in the lobby for community members to vote on and enjoy.
For inpatient patients, Navos held an annual holiday party, with an amazing group of volunteers providing games, food and music to patients who are there because they are experiencing a psychiatric crisis.
Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center
One of Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center’s local TV stations decorated the park at the base of the hospital so the kids spending Christmas in the hospital instead of at home could enjoy the festive lights. They also have the hospital lit up to celebrate.
Kadlec Regional Medical Center
The sounds and spirit of the holiday season are alive and well at the Kadlec Healthplex. Patients and staff were treated to a visit by Santa, plus enjoyed holiday music from the Kadlec Parkinson’s Loud Crowd. This is a group of Parkinson’s patients who use music (holiday music in particular) to help improve their voices. The group is led by Kadlec speech therapist Jenny Davis, herself a Parkinson’s patient. Santa and the Loud Crowd will make two more appearances at Kadlec before Christmas.
EvergreenHealth continued its tradition this holiday season, serving all of its employees a festive meal to enjoy and celebrate together. Santa paid a visit to Kirkland, where teams from across the organization had the opportunity to take a photo with Santa, and many brought their little ones dressed in their holiday best. EvergreenHealth decks the halls right after Thanksgiving, giving staff, patients and visitors a bright, festive and welcoming ambiance. With trees, ribbon and holiday cheer throughout the organization, it’s not doubt what time of year it is at EvergreenHealth.
PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center is hosting daily holiday performances, featuring local choirs and musicians, to the great delight of patients, visitors and hospital staff. They were also excited to broadcast one of the performances via Facebook!
Olympic Medical Center
Olympic Medical Center celebrates the holiday season in several ways. The employee activity committee kicks off the season by hosting a children’s holiday party. Employee families enjoy an afternoon of festive fun, entertainment, activities and photos with Santa. The patient experience team creates a festive display in the main hallway of the hospital. The display features employee kudos submitted by patients throughout the year. The birth center delivers giant gift bags to families of babies born in December. A local family that donates baby clothes, diapers and supplies provides the bags. They also host a Boys and Girls Club Helping Hand Tree and a Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree. Many employees shop to provide gifts for children and families in need.
Providence Regional Medical Center Everett
At Providence Northwest they celebrated the holidays with a special complimentary Holiday Meal for all caregivers on Dec. 20 at both of their campuses (Colby and Pacific). On the menu this year was carved prime rib of beef, baked teriyaki salmon, double stuffed baked potatoes, vegetarian Dijon breast, Brussels sprout and citrus salad, cranberry rice salad and spinach, Waldorf salad, and assorted rolls and dessert tarts (baked pear, baked lemon and maple pecan). The meal was served by leadership team members.
Additionally, they also had staff (both caregivers and leaders) participate in their annual caroling event Dec. 20. Carolers walked around the hospital singing Christmas joy for all to hear.
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
The medical oncology team based out of Northwest Hospital got decked out in sweaters for the holiday!
Overlake Medical Center
Overlake Medical Center celebrated its Holiday Feast last week. Held every year on the second Thursday of December, this tradition goes back many decades. Overlake Executive Chef Chris Linaman literally works around the clock to put on this excellent meal that includes slow-roasted prime rib for about 1,600 employees in three different shifts: 3-5am, 11am – 2pm, 4-6pm. On Friday, another 267 meals were delivered to employees who work at Overlake Medical Clinics around the Eastside. Every employee also gets a $25 holiday gift card. And in giving back to the Eastside community leading up to the holidays, employees enthusiastically supported Operation Holiday Spirit, which benefits four different focus areas (one for each week): Overlake’s vulnerable hospital patients, Backpack Meals for Kids, The Sophia Way (a shelter for homeless women) and Hopelink. “We take care of our neighbors when they are sick, this is just another way of taking care of them,” says one of Operation Holiday Spirit’s organizers Ayesha Zulqernain.
Valley Medical Center
At Valley Medical Center, they host an annual holiday tea for staff who work at their main campus, and send treat boxes to their clinics. Administrators dress up in festive attire to deliver cookies and fruit to their night shift staff. Also, each year they host a Giving Tree in support of the Salvation Army’s toy drive. This year they collected more than 1,000 toys and gifts for children ages 0-14 in about two-and-a-half weeks. The donations came from staff, volunteers, patients and visitors from across the hospital. Their IT staff alone donated some $1,200 worth of gifts purchased with funds raised through a department raffle for donated gift baskets. Finally, they collected donations of dozens of pairs of new socks, as well as winter hats, gloves and warm clothing for their emergency department to give to patients in need.
CHI Franciscan Health Harrison Medical Center
For over a decade, the Pediatric Rehabilitation team at Harrison Medical Center-Silverdale has hosted a “Holiday Cheer” event for special needs children and their families. The event provides those children a wonderful holiday experience in a safe and friendly environment.
Stephanie Rosas, who heads up Patient Access at the Pediatric Rehab and organized the event, says, “We love hosting this event because we know how much joy it brings to the children and families in our community. For special needs children to get their photo taken with Santa in a safe and welcoming environment is really meaningful.”
Also, every year North Mason Schools, Kiwanis and Lions Club collects information of families in need and distributes it in “tags” to local businesses and community organizations. Harrison Belfair Urgent and Primary Care Clinics are a key partner in the event, providing donations of time and money. Clinic staff spends time outside of work shopping for the last-minute items for the tags not filled, ensuring all kids can have a great holiday. Last year, team members fulfilled more than 50 outstanding items for families in need.
CHI Franciscan Health Highline Medical Center
Highline Medical Center partnered with the Burien/Normandy Park Fire Department for a Christmas Holiday Toy Drive, collecting donations at their main lobby. Holidays can present a great challenge for families in need to provide gifts for their children. Community members were able to help their neighbors by donating new toys and gifts.
CHI Franciscan Health
Every year, CHI Franciscan Health Leaders travel throughout the organization to spread holiday cheer and thank employees for their dedication of service by serving a complimentary Christmas meal with all the trimmings. The festive seasonal event takes place at 13 different locations throughout the organization’s footprint and serves thousands of providers, staff and volunteers.
PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center
Spirits are extra bright at the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Childbirth Center as all babies born during the last two weeks of December will receive a special handmade Christmas stocking. Each stocking is a unique work of art, and the tradition of giving stockings stretches back 40 years. The cuteness is on overdrive as precious bundles of joy are proudly displayed in festive keepsakes. Parents, family members and hospital staff agree: These are the best stocking stuffers ever.
As part of Skyline Hospital’s commitment to give back to its communities, staff is collecting new or gently used winter clothing (coats, hats, gloves, fleeces etc.) to be donated to those in need. Items will be distributed through the local food bank and emergency housing shelters. All of the staff at the White Salmon hospital believe “together we can make a difference.”
Morton General Hospital
Morton General Staff has been giving back on many fronts. In addition to staff collecting food and winter coats for the area needy, the Employee Activity Committee adopted four coworkers and their families for their adopt-a-family program. Using the money raised from the jeans-on-Friday fees, the employees provided $1,000 for 10 kids’ Christmas gifts and $1,200 for groceries and household supplies for the four families.
Astria Sunnyside Hospital
Staff and caregivers at Astria Sunnyside Hospital enjoyed the holidays with a 15 days of Christmas celebration designed to “care for the caregivers,” including a gingerbread house competition and fun activities through the new year.
Astria Regional Medical Center
Astria Regional Medical Center has been taking care of the Yakima Valley for more than 125 years. Because of its long history in the community, they have formed strong partnerships with local organizations that help support their patients, neighbors and friends during the holiday season and throughout the year. For the last 10 years, Astria Regional Medical Center passes out hot cocoa to their neighbors at the Southeast Community Center during their annual holiday meal. This year they were able to give away more than 2,000 cups of cocoa, candy canes and help distribute coats to kids in need. For the last 18 years, Astria Regional Medical Center has been a major sponsor of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. This year they were able to adopt four children and provide them with a gift from their Christmas list. The Astria Health Center located on Ahtanum Ridge also adopted a family in need and delivered a sleigh full of presents to them. Also, the staff at Astria Regional Medical Center and the Astria Health Centers adopted 105 foster kids and provided them with at least one item from their Christmas wish list. To kick off National Blood Donation month in January, Astria Regional Medical Center and Astria Toppenish Hospital held blood drives on their campuses.
Astria Home Health & Hospice
Astria Home Health & Hospice hosted the 25th anniversary of the Tree of Remembrance on December 15. The Tree of Remembrance ceremony is a time of reflection honoring loved ones whose memories are treasured, and an opportunity for healing and celebration of loved ones who have passed.
From all of us at WSHA, have a happy and safe holiday! (Tim Pfarr)