Advertisement

Gifts help soften hospital stays for patients at Glendale Adventist Medical Center

While airport delays may keep some travelers from making it to Christmas dinner on time, others won’t be back home at all because they’re stuck in a hospital bed.

To give their patients a little holiday cheer during their stay, staffers at Glendale Adventist Medical Center on Wednesday handed out 60 teddy bears.

The hospital’s nurses, who spend the most time with patients, picked who would get the bears.

“During the holidays, our patients really struggle. They don’t want to be here,” said nursing director Emilie Batig. “We know they want to be home, so if they can have something that reminds them of being closer to home, I think it helps.”

President and CEO of Glendale Adventist Medical Center Kevin Roberts, center, and Bloomingdale's public relations manager Kelli Daley, right, present patient Joann Kuykendall with a teddy bear for the holidays, at GAMC in Glendale on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. A donor gave 30 bears and Bloomingdale's matched the gift with another 30 bears.

President and CEO of Glendale Adventist Medical Center Kevin Roberts, center, and Bloomingdale’s public relations manager Kelli Daley, right, present patient Joann Kuykendall with a teddy bear for the holidays, at GAMC in Glendale on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. A donor gave 30 bears and Bloomingdale’s matched the gift with another 30 bears.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Nurses and administrators made their rounds through different parts of the hospital on Wednesday and visited patients like Joann Kuykendall, who was in the cardiac unit.

She was pleasantly surprised when hospital chief executive Kevin Roberts popped in and handed her a teddy bear.

Kuykendall said holding it offered a comfort of home she missed.

“I love it. It’s beautiful,” she said. “I’ve been missing my dog so bad. My dog is very soft.”

On another floor, Cassandra Cañada was recovering from knee surgery when she got her bear and gave it a kiss and squeeze.

“On the side of my bed, where I don’t usually sleep, I keep my purse and this and that,” she said. “Now, [this bear] will be there, too.”

A Pasadena resident, Cañada spent the night before her surgery cooking 12 turkeys and making candied yams for a holiday gathering at her church.

However, missing Christmas won’t be too bad because her family would be asking her to lend a hand.

“I’d say ‘no’ because I don’t want to be asked to do anything,” she joked.

Volunteer Caroline Tufenkian, left, and Glendale Adventist Medical Center marketing director Alina Dersarkissian, right, help pass out teddy bears to patients for the holidays, at GAMC in Glendale on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. Sixty stuffed bears from Bloomingdale's were handed out to patients throughout the hospital.

Volunteer Caroline Tufenkian, left, and Glendale Adventist Medical Center marketing director Alina Dersarkissian, right, help pass out teddy bears to patients for the holidays, at GAMC in Glendale on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. Sixty stuffed bears from Bloomingdale’s were handed out to patients throughout the hospital.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Now in its second year, the toy handout has been dubbed the annual Hug-a-Bear event. An anonymous donor paid for 30 bears, while Bloomingdale’s matched with another 30.

The bears are available annually during the holidays at Bloomingdale’s.

Irene Bourdon, president of the hospital’s healthcare foundation, said she hopes the event will continue to see more and more bears being handed out.

“We recognize that Christmas is a day where people are home surrounded by friends and families, but for our patients, we just want them to feel loved,” she said. “That’s what all this is about, sharing love.”

--

Arin Mikailian, arin.mikailian@latimes.com

Twitter: @ArinMikailian


Advertisement