Our community hospital is extraordinary. It was designed by the architect who created the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The main reception area is light and spacious with skylights and a dome-covered 40-foot koi pond. Large glass windows overlook the pine forest that surrounds it, and the interior courtyard waterfall and gardens. Every wall is adorned with paintings and sculptures donated by the rather artistic community the hospital serves. This beautiful, calm, and serene environment was intentional—it was an approach to healing that was progressive for its time.

Up the road is the larger and quite famous Medical Center that also has lush grounds and a light and spacious lobby, with a baby grand piano and pianists, harpists, and guitarists who are part of a music program. They circulate through the hospital and respond to calls to play in patients’ rooms, intensive care units, maternity wards, and infusion centers. Throughout history, music has been used in all cultures in healing and medicine. “It is the most profound non-chemical medication” Oliver Sacks, Awakenings.

Some dismiss glorious spaces and programs like these as “greeters, greenery and gadgetry,” but do acknowledge that they truly enhance the patient experience. But let’s be frank, most hospitals and senior living communities don’t have special budgets for koi ponds, waterfalls, and harpists. Most healthcare communities rely on individual caregivers to provide the holistic, patient-centered, culturally sensitive services that promote healing and well-being to patients and residents.

It is these caregivers that can truly make the difference in a healthcare experience—and it is these caregivers that we are extremely grateful for.

Doctors Community Hospital patients rely on LaShawn, Recreation Assistant, who has volunteered to provide beautician services and personal products, making sure the residents look great and feel good about themselves. She helps patients participate in activities and helps them conduct Zoom calls with their families.

Baptist Health Medical Center patients are amused by nurses like Stanley, who goes out of his way to motivate those around him and bring them all together. He purchases pens, badge holders and small tokens of appreciation and hands them out to acknowledge those who work together to handle problems. The pens say things like, “Crisis again in America. We will handle it! #Stanleypen.” To receive a #Stanleypen is an honor, and a reminder that we are all in this together.

At another Baptist Health Medical Center location, patients are awed by caregivers like Joseph, an Assistant ECMO Coordinator. When Joe realized the mother of a ventilated patient was distressed that her son didn’t look like himself, he took it upon himself to trim the patient’s hair and shave his face. The mother was elated and gratified that Joe added a personal touch that gave the family some comfort and possibly helped the healing process.

Providence Place Senior Living residents rely on Devante, Housekeeping/Resident Life Associate, who works with patients suffering from dementia. Devante will escort them to meals so they won’t get lost, and consoles agitated residents with the kind of patience, caring, compassion and understanding that exemplifies Providence Place and Ceca Foundation values.

Goodwin House residents have Daniel, Dining Services supervisor who, like any Maître D’ at a fine restaurant, checks on residents at every table to make sure that food orders are properly recorded and delivered in a timely fashion, and that they are happy with their meal, the service, and the experience. He does this with characteristic good nature and extreme courtesy, and things always go well when Daniel is on the job.

Baptist Health Medical Center patients rely on nurse Pamela, who was instrumental in helping manage the demand for monoclonal antibody infusions within the community, where timeliness of the administration of the drug is of utmost importance. She troubleshoots problems, comes early, stays late, provides extraordinary care, and is inspiring to work with, lifting the entire team with her attitude and presence.

These are just a few examples of caregivers who create a healing environment by providing their own brand of essential and extraordinary human-centric care to their patients and residents. These are caregivers who have been honored by Ceca Foundation through the Ceca Award – celebrating exceptional caregivers. And these are the caregivers to whom we all express our unbounded gratitude.