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April 15, 2019

New Volunteer Services program celebrates patient birthdays

By uclahealth
UCLA Birthday Program with UCLA Health Volunteers
From left: Volunteers Alicia Arellano-Perez and Summer Alshobber deliver a “birthday box” to David Lee Rukstalis, a patient at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

UCLA Health Volunteer Services has launched a new birthday program to help brighten the day for patients who would probably prefer to be spending their birthdays somewhere else. For adult patients who consent to be recognized on their birthdays, Volunteer Services arranges for a musician or student singers to perform the Happy Birthday song. They also deliver a gift box that features a card signed by care providers, along with some small gifts and activities.

“Some patients are hospitalized weeks — if not months — at a time and can feel down when they find themselves in the hospital on their birthday,” explains Carey McCarthy, MPH, director of UCLA Health Volunteer Services. “Our birthday boxes are designed to be cheery, with lots of fun items, including a booklet featuring all our People-Animal Connection dogs dressed in birthday hats and other festive attire.” The program has been implemented in eight units across both Westwood and Santa Monica campuses, and has been well-received by patients.

Tags: birthday program, Employee News, People-Animal Connection, Volunteer, Wellness

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