MemorialCare Miller Children's and Women's Hospital during COVID-19

Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital saves Halloween

COVID-19 has changed a lot this year, including the way children and their families will celebrate Halloween. Missing out on an annual tradition – like trick-or-treating – can be challenging, especially for young children and MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach knows that well.

Miller Children’s & Women’s facility dog, Zeta, and her handler Shelly Forcier, play with a young patient during the Halloween celebration. Courtesy photo.
Miller Children’s & Women’s facility dog, Zeta, and her handler Shelly Forcier, play with a young patient during the Halloween celebration. Courtesy photo.

Each year, the child life specialists at Miller Children’s & Women’s plan a hospital-style trick-or-treating route for children who are hospitalized. But just like families who are adapting their Halloween celebrations at home, Miller Children’s & Women’s did the same.

“It’s important to a child’s recovery that there is a sense of normalcy while they’re in the hospital, and as child life specialists it’s our job to maintain that normalcy,” says Rita Goshert, director, Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “In October, that means putting up decorations, dressing up and being with their friends and family. We didn’t want COVID-19 to take that completely away from our patients, so we worked with our hospital leadership, infection control team and others to host our first ever socially distanced Halloween celebration that was safe for our patients, families and employees.”

Miller Children’s & Women’s brought patients one-by-one into a transformed auditorium complete with themed decals on the floor that helped socially distance patients and their families.

Dressed up as their favorite characters, young patients received Halloween themed goodies from Miller Children’s & Women’s employees – each one representing a different hospital department – wearing masks and gloves to keep kids safe.

Masks were worn by all in attendance over the age of 2 and special attention was taken to ensure that all treats given out were individually packaged and handled safely.

“We have a saying ‘to play is to heal,’ and by giving our patients this opportunity to dress up and play even for just a few minutes will make all the difference in the experience they have in the hospital,” says Goshert.

The article above was released by Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital.