On Friday, Aug. 6, the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach hosted a beach-themed celebration for children who are currently hospitalized and receiving treatment.

Children may have increased feelings of isolation during hospitalization and over the past year have often been confined to their rooms with COVID-19 precautions in place. In an effort to provide them a positive summer experience while in the hospital, employees at Miller Children’s & Women’s transformed a large conference room into a seaside paradise.

“We want our patients and families to know that the hospital cares in every way possible,” says Karina Lopez, RN, clinical educator, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “Since the pandemic affected everyone and we have been unable to do these types of events for the past year, hospital staff really put in the effort to participate to make sure that this celebration was safe and a success.”

Staff from different departments at Miller Children’s & Women’s set up their own beach-themed booths filled with decorations and goodies to give away. Patients were then able to stop by to collect toys, games and prizes to make their hospital stay more exciting and fun.

In the past, members from the outside community were able to participate and interact with event attendees. However, due to COVID-19 precautions, this event was made exclusively for hospital employees, patients and families.

“It’s a win-win,” says Rita Goshert, director of the Child Life Program at Miller Children’s & Women’s. “We were able to bring the beach to the children and allow them to have their own unique summer fun. And this was also a great morale booster for hospital staff because they love giving back to our patients. Every parent wants their child to be happy. We hope that this event brought a smile to their child’s face and made them feel special.”

The Child Life Program aims to make the hospital experience more positive for children of all ages and coordinates events like this to help distract children from their illness and treatments.  


Miller Children’s & Women’s patient Henry, 10, visits with a staff member from the Rehabilitation Center at Miller Children’s & Women’s, who is dressed up as Disney princess Moana.


21-month-old patient Sophia hugs a brand-new stuffed animal at a beach-themed bash at  Miller Children’s & Women’s.

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