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Ragan Health Care recently spotlighted hospitals around the country that offer "special touches" for their patients. Magee was highlighted for its efforts to make patients feel more at home. You can read the full article here or below.

8 hospitals with special touches for patients
Ragan Health Care Communication News
February 18, 2013
By Jessica Levco

Soon, my inbox was flooded with responses--all the way from Cleveland to Brazil.

If your hospital is doing anything special, send me an email at jessical@ragan.com. Lets make this story have a part two (and three and four ҅).

Have a baby, eat a lobster tail
Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut offers a complimentary dinner to mom and dad after their child is born.

Its not just any dinner. You might call it Surf 'n' Birth. (OK, you might not, but we do.) Fresh salads and shrimp cocktails for appetizers; a choice of lobster tail, filet mignon, roasted salmon filet, or chicken Francoise for a main course; and a variety of desserts, such as chocolate ganache cake or lemon sorbet.

The dinner is normally served on the evening before the mother goes home, but it can be delivered as a midday meal or in a picnic basket to take home.

Lending patients an iPad

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute lends iPads to patients while theyҒre waiting or getting chemotherapy. Each iPad is loaded with "plenty of games, music, news outlets, and a streaming Netflix account," says Steven Singer, senior vice president for communications.

The iPads are available for three-hour periods. Patients just need to show their patient identification and a driver's license.

"The iPads work well because they are easy to use, have long battery life and are intuitive," Singer says. "They are also easier to keep disinfected than a laptop."

A place just for kids

Each of the 21 Centra Care locations in Central Florida has a spot just for young patients.

"The Kids Cove area is equipped with tables, games, coloring paper, and crayons," says Jennifer Giusti, social media affairs director and copy writer for Adeo Media. "This area is a great way to keep the kids occupied and help them feel a little better if they're feeling under the weather while waiting to be seen by one of our doctors."

Making patients feel at home

At Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, patients stay there "longer amounts of time than acute-care hospitals--and therapy is exhausting," says Kimberly Shrack, social media and PR manager. The hospital tries to provide many programs and perks to make a patients stay feel more like "home."

Here are a few examples that Shrack provided:

  • A few of our nurses and therapists are also skilled in beauty and style. They will give the patients manicures, haircuts, hair styles, and other beauty services to give them a little taste of home.
  • On our patients' birthdays, we give them a "Happy Birthday" pin so everyone in the hospital--from the clinical staff to administration and beyond--can wish them a happy birthday.
  • We do whatever we can to help patients celebrate the milestones that occur while they are at Magee. For our patients celebrating anniversaries, we bring in their partner and throw a celebration. For those patients who are in rehab during their graduations, we bring in their family and principal to have a ceremony here, and also Skype them into their graduation so they can join their classmates. We have Skyped patients into weddings, as well.

Birthday balloons for everyone

Nobody wants to be stuck in a hospital on their birthday. That's why service excellence representative at Frederick Memorial Hospital in Maryland reviews all the patients' birthdays and makes sure each one gets attention.

"She delivers a balloon and birthday card to the patient's nurse," Patty Shipley, service excellence coordinator says. "The patientҒs caregivers sign the card and deliver the balloon to the patient. The balloons are generously supplied by our Gift Shop volunteers."

Sending motivating messages

Luiza Spinelli, media specialist at Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Brazil, told us the story about how the hospital celebrated Friendship Day on July 20, 2012.

"As a special day to tell people about how much we care, we invited fans on Facebook and Twitter to send a message to a friend who was in the hospital," Spinelli says. "At the day, our patients received a motivating message wishing health and happiness."

You can see the YouTube video here.

Paying attention to a patient's family

Having a loved one in the hospital can be difficult for the whole family.

Here are just a few things that Nationwide Children's Hospital does, according to Erin Pope, senior media relations specialist:

Host scrapbooking and journaling groups in our Family Resource Center;

  • Volunteers give haircuts to families who are spending a lot of time at the hospital;
  • Parents receive free massages in the Family Resource Center;
  • Volunteers assist families with taxes in the Family Resource Center;
  • There's a Sibling Clubhouse for siblings of children who are in the hospital (a play area, staffed with volunteers).

The 'Jesus Closet' and more

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is a faith-based organization, dedicated to providing quality health care--even though a significant portion of patients have minimal or no insurance.

"We like to make sure that all of our patients leave our hospital with all the basic necessities that they may not have had when they entered," says Lauren Wilk, marketing and volunteer coordinator for the center.

Here are three ways the center does this, according to Wilk:

Sometimes, a patient will enter our facility with damaged or dirty clothing due to an accident or other event. Although they would be treated wearing a hospital gown, when they leave the medical center they may not have any other option than to put on the same soiled garments they came in with. For this reason, we offer our patients the "Jesus Closet," a repository for donated clothing to be given freely to anyone in need. The closet is maintained by a group of our caregivers, who also provide a majority of its donations.

Patients who came to our medical center by ambulance often will not have a safe mode of transportation to get home with. When patients have no reliable way of getting home, we give them a free bus ticket.

The Emergency Pharmaceutical Fund allows us to provide patients with their necessary medications that they may not be able to afford. A portion of the sales from the medical centers vending machines fund this program, along with other various events that take place in our facility. We generally fill around 50 prescriptions a month with the Emergency Pharmaceutical Fund.

We know there's a lot of benevolence still to report, so again, please send me an email at jessical@ragan.com and talk about the nice gestures and programs your hospital or medical group or practice offers.

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If you are you a member of the media interested in Magee, please contact:

Marissa Montenegro
Public Relations and
Social Media Manager
Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
1513 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 587-3363