Santa Brings Smiles and Holiday Cheer to Patients at Long Beach Memorial


When most people are enjoying the holidays at home, Long Beach Memorial recognizes that adults in the hospital need to celebrate Christmas just like their friends and family. Santa stopped by on his way back to the North Pole to pass out stockings filled with goodies to the patients at Long Beach Memorial. Children from Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach and local area schools made homemade cards for Mrs. Clause to hand out. Instead of reindeer, Santa was accompanied by pet therapy dog, Cruz, to spread holiday cheer.

The Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC) coordinated Santa and Rudolph’s visit. The PFAC is the voice and community advocates for hospitalized patients and their family members. Members, serving on the council, have been patients or are family members of patients at Long Beach Memorial. Health care professionals also serve on PFAC to bring a professional and collaborative approach.

Many members offer their volunteer services as a way to “give back” for the excellent care given to them. From such experiences, council members share their stories, awareness, perceptions and understanding of this collaborative partnership. Family centered care is a cornerstone of Long Beach Memorial.

Having family, friends and special visits lift patients’ spirits and some research indicates it improves recovery time. Hospitalization can be an overwhelming experience, even for adults, and especially during the holidays. Long Beach Memorial and PFAC want to help patients, who might not be able to enjoy the holidays at home, to experience Christmas cheer.

“We are so happy that Santa was able to stop by and visit our patients at Long Beach Memorial,” says Stephanie Stembridge, family advocate, Long Beach Memorial. “It makes our patients and their families so happy during a stressful time. We are so thankful that PFAC was able to set this up for our patients.”