The first National Hospital Day was held on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, May 12, 1921. It was conceived by a Chicago magazine editor as a public healthcare event that encouraged trust in the city’s hospitals in the wake of the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918, which killed more than 600,000 Americans.
The event expanded to an entire week in 1953. In 2015, it’s May 10 – 16.
Now, every state celebrates National Hospital Week, sponsored by the American Hospital Association. Intended as a community-centered program, it engages every person in the hospital, from directors to transporters, nurses to volunteers, EMS techs to home-health professionals, and physicians to patients.
Locally, most hospitals hold events during Hospital Week that engage and recognize the employees, physicians and volunteers in the organization. There may be community events as well, to demonstrate the important part a hospital plays in the community it serves.
This year at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, we have several fun events scheduled, including a staff talent show, an art participation project, and putt-putt golf holes created by employees. There will be several special food giveaways, and some educational events.
For our community, we are also starting our weekly Wednesday farmers’ market, “Henry’s Market on Main,” where people can purchase fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables and flowers, honey, breads, and some our own chefs’ creations using products grown in our organic greenhouse.
Miracles do happen every day in our hospital, some of them small, some of them bigger, but in every case there is one or more dedicated, compassionate, devoted and skilled healthcare worker. These people are the anchors in our communities, the ones we all run to in times of need, the ones we are lucky enough to call members of our very special Henry Ford family.
This week we call extra attention to these heroes, and thank them for what they do every day to make our hospital, our community, and our world, that much better.
My gratitude goes out to all of them!