Hospitals across Washington State have their own ways of celebrating the holidays each December, with special festivities that make the season bright. Here are a few of the ways WSHA members are celebrating this year:
Othello Community Hospital celebrates the holidays each year by collecting hat, mittens, toys and nonperishable food for those in need in the community. The donations are sorted and distributed through a local Christmas Basket program. The hospital has contributed to the Christmas Baskets for more than three decades, and it started by collecting food before slowly expanding the scope of the drive.
Providence Regional Medical Center Everett held a special complimentary holiday meal for all Providence caregivers, physicians, volunteers and Bethany and Fairfax staff at both of their campus cafeterias. Caregivers dined on prime rib of beef, baked salmon, local farm vegetables, and a variety of salads and assorted desserts. The medical center also invited all caregivers to join its annual Caroling at Colby event on Dec. 23. The assembled caroling team wanders round the hospital floors singing Christmas joy for all to hear.
Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital has been graced with a bit of magic this year, in addition to its typical holiday merriment for its young patients. This year, Sacred Heart Bart (aka the Elf on the Shelf) has come down from the North Pole to celebrate 12 days of Christmas. He’s been caught in some funny situations, posing for letters with Santa and even being carried off by a hospital service dog.
Inland Northwest Health Services hosted a prime rib dinner for all employees across its seven service lines – St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute, Northwest MedStar, Engage, Community Wellness, Health Training, Northwest Telehealth and COHE Community of Eastern Washington. The dietary staff at St. Luke’s created an incredible meal and were treated to a special dinner of their choice — one they didn’t have to cook! INHS leadership served dinner, and Santa made a special guest appearance.
Regional Hospital for Respiratory and Complex Care, thanks to the leadership of some dedicated and compassionate nurses, organized a Donate to Treehouse day by preparing lunch and desserts and soliciting gifts of clothing, toys, shoes and personal hygiene items for the nonprofit organization Treehouse, which supports foster families throughout Western Washington. Regional staff, led by Diane Chakravarty, raised more than $1,200 in cash donations and filled the Family Lounge with donations.
Summit Pacific Medical Center’s Spirit Team kicked off the holiday season with an after-hours cookie and ornament decorating social. Dec. 18 was the big day though, with a holiday-themed potluck in the staff break room, a mug exchange, the conclusion of the medical center’s Secret Santa exchange and the unveiling of the department gingerbread houses, which are on display and collecting votes from the community on the medical center’s Facebook page. Also, staff at its Mark Reed Healthcare Clinic sponsored a patient family and provided the mom, dad and three kids with lots of gifts and all the ingredients they need for a festive Christmas dinner.
Valley Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Jamie Park, Chief Nursing Officer Theresa Braungardt and VP of Nursing Services James Jones made the rounds late in the night Dec. 16, bringing joy and holiday cheer to the hospital’s night staff. Decked out in their finest holiday garb, Park, along with Santa’s Elves, stopped to visit with staff and pose for photos. At the end of their rounds they served a free breakfast in the cafeteria for all to enjoy!
Overlake Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit gets an annual visit from Santa, who comes in so babies spending the holidays in the hospital can still get a picture with the big guy. It just so happens that Santa is a generous and grateful former patient who wanted to give back to his local hospital.
Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital celebrates with the hospital senior team walking throughout the hospital on Christmas Eve from 10pm to midnight and on Christmas Day, spreading cheer, handing out handwritten cards and gifts cards to each and every person working in the hospital.
Navos inpatients were treated to a holiday party with wonderful food, games and singing carols, thanks to a compassionate group of community volunteers. For many, this will be their only holiday celebration during a very difficult time in their lives.
Skyline Hospital kicked off its holidays with a weeklong celebration for employees and volunteers, with each day offering something special as way to say thank you and spread holiday cheer. This year included a breakfast and catered lunch, Christmas cookies, an ugly sweater contest and lots of other goodies. Each year, the Skyline Hospital staff pulls together to help local families that are less fortunate. This year they supported a family of six (a mother and five children) that had to flee a terrible situation of domestic violence with just the clothes on their backs. The Skyline family provided, gifts, clothing, food and certificates to give them a better holiday.
MultiCare Health System was treated to CEO Bill Robertson serving holiday meals to MultiCare employees the week of Dec. 14 at Tacoma General Hospital, Allenmore Hospital and Auburn Medical Center. This marks the second year of a new tradition.
EvergreenHealth gets festive the entire month of December, starting with an annual visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus during the employee holiday celebration. Decorations fill the halls, and, throughout the month, passersby’s are invited to share notes of gratitude or remembrance for patients, caregivers, family and friends on a special Reflecting Our Light pop-up display. Carolers from organizations such as Skyview Junior High School and Snoqualmie Valley Girls’ Choir spread their cheer in the medical center’s common areas, and a special note from CEO Bob Malte on Christmas Day will send staff warm wishes, accompanied by a complimentary holiday meal for those working.
Swedish Medical Center holds an annual holiday caregiver lunch at its First Hill, Cherry Hill, Issaquah, Edmonds and Ballard hospitals. Meals are held at various times to accommodate different caregiver shifts. Swedish leadership team members show employees their appreciation by helping to serve caregivers their meals. This year, caregivers were treated to festive songs from carolers to help get everyone into the holiday spirit!
PeaceHealth continued its annual holiday decorating contest by transforming its system office into a magical Christmas wonderland. A donation to the Clark County Food Bank was awarded to the winning department: Information Services & Technology and Administration. You can check out a photo slideshow of all the hard work and creativity by PeaceHealth caregivers – all for a great cause!
PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center, held a community tree lighting in early December. The festivities included caroling, hot cocoa and cookies, a recitation of the Christmas story and the big countdown to the lighting of the living tree in front of the medical center. Many Caregivers at PeaceHealth St. John also participated in taking a tag from the Salvation Army Angel Tree in the hospital cafeteria and purchasing a child’s gift; many also adopted a family to make Christmas brighter for those in need.
From all of us at WSHA, have a very happy and safe holiday season!