Flower power: Monthly distribution brightens day for patients, Reid staff
The power of flowers is proving a monthly day-brightener for Reid Health patients and their caregivers, thanks to a program discovered by Reid Health’s Retail Manager Miracle Baker earlier this year.
Baker connected with Random Acts of Flowers, a national organization that recycles flowers into arrangements and provides them free to health care facilities through a state buyer’s group in which she participates. The organization has a branch in Indianapolis, where a Reid Health representative goes once a month to pick up arrangements that are brought back to the hospital and almost immediately delivered to patients by excited team members.
“The patients have loved it. I have been fortunate to hand them out twice now and each time it has moved patients nearly to tears,” said Tyler Evans, RN, Director of Med/Surg and Nursing Support for Reid Health.
Since the first distribution in August, approximately 100 arrangements have been delivered each month – usually on the fourth Thursday. Michelle McClurg, Director of Patient Experience for Reid Health, said the flowers have proved a great boost for patients and staff. “We sometimes have patients who don’t have much support from family or friends, so these have proven to be an extra special blessing to them. But they truly warm the hearts of everyone who receives them.”
According to the Random Act of Flowers web site, Larsen Jay founded the organization in 2008 after a near-fatal accident the previous year. He credits the support he received from visitors and dozens of floral arrangements while in the hospital as key to his recovery through multiple surgeries and lengthy stays.
“When Larsen was capable of leaving his room, he noticed how many of his fellow patients did not have visitors or flowers,” the web site notes. He began repurposing his flowers and delivering them in his wheelchair – and that’s what led to forming the organization in 2008.
The organization today has provided more than 200,000 arrangements to patients through organizations in multiple states.
Baker said the flowers come from various places, including distributors, retail stores, weddings, funerals and other events. The arrangements are assembled by volunteers at the Indy location in the Broad Ripple area. When she found out about the effort, it just took one phone call to get a flower program started for Reid Health. The only requirement was that Reid pick them up each month – which Baker or Ginkgo Boutique staff do.
In the fifth distribution just before Christmas, a Reid van packed with close to 100 arrangements was quickly unloaded, spread across tables in a nearby meeting room, and picked up by staff members from several floors. One of those staff members was Sam Lindamood, RN, Clinical Nurse Manager for 4 North and 5 North. “Handing out these flowers is one of the more enjoyable things I get to do in my job,” he said while loading a cart with dozens of arrangements and wearing his Santa sweater. He said the Reid program is his first encounter with Random Acts of Flowers. “All of the patients really seem to enjoy getting them. Their faces light up when I walk into the room.”
Baker believes the program gives staff members almost as much joy as it brings their patients. “It’s so great to surprise patients, to take something to them they were not expecting,” she said. “It helps remind us what we are here for – the patients. And just to brighten everyone’s day. The fact we are often able to do it for a large number of patients, it’s always a good afternoon.”