For Hometown News
ORANGE CITY -- Carol Blair had planned on celebrating Christmas at home in Osteen with her husband, daughter and grandchildren, but unfortunately couldn't. She needed to have surgery on her leg and had to stay in Florida Hospital Fish Memorial's Progressive Care Unit for a week -- a week that unfortunately included Christmas.
"When I found out I was going to be here for Christmas, I was very sad," said Ms. Blair, 52. "I lost my son five years ago, so Christmas is always hard, but it was tough not to be home for the holiday."
The nurses at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial's Progressive Care Unit understand how hard it can be for both patients and their families to be in the hospital on holidays. That's why they took it upon themselves to plan something a little extra special for their patients. On Christmas Eve, they gave each patient a poinsettia and a handcrafted, get-well card from area first-graders.
"It was so sweet to get the cards from the kids," Ms. Blair said as she smiles and shows off one card with the message "Fell Better Soon" hand-scrawled by a child. "It was all very heartfelt and made everyone happier. It was just really nice to know the nurses were doing their best to make you feel better on Christmas."
On the Progressive Care Unit, patients are less critical than Intensive Care Unit patients, but they require more care than provided on the regular nursing floors.
"We understand how hard it can be, especially during the holidays, to have to stay at the hospital," said Suzanne Velonis, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial PCU Registered Nurse and Unit Practice Counsel co-chair. "That's why we decided to do something a little extra special for our patients."
The Orange City hospital's UPC is a committee dedicated to improving both the care for patients, as well as the processes for nurses and physicians. The UPC contacted the Port Orange Lowe's and told them about their plans, and the store agreed to give the nurses their poinsettia plants for only $1 each.
Erica Stevens, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Charge Nurse, asked her daughter's Deltona first grade class to decorate get-well cards to go with the plants.
"The kids were so excited to get involved in this project," Ms. Stevens said. "It was really cute. They were so happy to help and truly wanted to cheer up those who weren't able to be home for the holiday."