Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program at MemorialCare Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach hosted a variety of events to help make the hospital experience a more positive one for their patients. Activity playrooms throughout the hospital also offered a fun, engaging environment for patients during their stay. But COVID-19 changed everything.
"Right now, most patients are confined to their rooms," says Chantel Rothenburger, Child Life Assistant. "They come into the playrooms periodically, but that's been up in the air because of the surges of COVID-19 cases."
The Child Life Program knew patients were in desperate need of social interactions. That’s when the Angels stepped up to the plate.
MemorialCare is the official healthcare partner of the Angels. Aiming to promote, improve and preserve health in the community through this partnership, Miller Children’s & Women’s and the Angels have hosted two virtual visits with members of the Angels over the last few months. These visits were broadcasted through a closed-circuit TV station for patients to view directly in their room. Furthermore, patients were able to call in and ask questions making the visits interactive and engaging.
During a virtual visit with Angels manager, Joe Maddon, the patients played a special game created by MemorialCare’s child life specialists called “Are you Smarter than a MLB Manager?” Although Joe had years of wisdom on his side, the patients came out victorious in the end.
When Angels players David Fletcher and Jared Walsh dropped by for a virtual visit, the child life specialists prepared a Family Feud style game based on baseball trivia. Although it was a close match with the Angels getting the win and the patients taking the loss, the Angels promised to come back for a rematch in the future.
"All our patients were very eager to call in and talk to them," says Chantel. "These online visits from the Angels were a great opportunity to put a smile on our patients' faces and brighten their days."
Other initiatives by the Angels in support of their partnership with MemorialCare Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach include:
- Valentine’s Day gift box: In February, the Angels sent a box filled with Valentine’s Day themed arts and craft activities and giveaways to show their love for the patients at MemorialCare Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach.
- Father’s Day gift: Fathers with newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit received an Angels baseball with their baby’s footprint stamped onto them as unique keepsakes.
- Balding All Angels: A special fundraising event through Angels manager, Joe Maddon’s Respect 90 Foundation to benefit the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute at MemorialCare Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach. Maddon and Angels players and coaches participated in this event by shaving their heads for the cause.