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The fourth grade class from Visitation BVM School in Trooper, Pa., “adopted” patients from Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia. The patients, located on the Levy 9 unit, are frail elderly with psychiatric and medical conditions. The majority of these patients are poor and many are admitted to the hospital owning only the clothes on their back.
The partnership was created four years ago by Carol Stupka, RN, a registered nurse on the unit (shown in photo), who is dedicated to making sure the program continues. Students earn money by doing chores at home which they donate for the purchase of much needed items for the patients, such as toiletries, underwear, socks and warm clothing, including sweat pants and shirts and jackets.“The new clothes and toiletries go a long way in helping to boost patients’ self esteem and sense of dignity,” Stupka said. Staff on the unit create a “Caring Cart” with the new items and patients select the things they need. As part of the partnership, Ms. Stupka visits the class each year to discuss mental illness and brings a huge “Thank You” banner with personal notes of gratitude from the patients (displayed on chalkboard in the top photo).
Bottom photo: Staff from Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia’s Levy 9 Unit with the “Caring Cart” containing donated toiletries and clothing from the 4th grade class at Visitation BVM School in Trooper, Pa. Carol Stupka, who started and maintains the program, is kneeling on the right.