Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach recently held its annual Beach Day on Saturday.
The event transformed the Houssels forum, a large conference room at the hospital, into a “seaside paradise.” Booths provided games, toys, and gifts to the pediatric patients of Miller Children’s and Women’s.
Hospital staff and community partners dressed up in beach attire while running the booths that provided games, toys, and gifts to the pediatric patients of Miller Children’s and Women’s
Life specialists from the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program were also present, assisting the young patients as they headed down the line of booths.
Rita Goshert, Director of the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program, discussed the importance of having events like Beach Day for young patients.
“The goal of our department is to normalize the crazy, scary environment of the hospital for pediatric patients and their families,” Goshert said. “And what is more normal than going to a carnival in the summertime or going to the beach in the summertime.”
The booths were socially distanced and mask-wearing was required as well. Besides receiving toys and gifts, patients were also treated to magic tricks from a magician.
A pet therapy dog was also at the event to play with patients.
Lia, an 8-year-old patient, was one of the many pediatric patients to participate in Beach
“I like it,” Lia said. “This is my first Beach Day.”
Before COVID, patients were allowed to stay for the duration of the whole event with food and drinks being provided. Arts and crafts were available for patients to interact with as well.
Beach Day was canceled in 2020 and returned last year with COVID precautions, as well as being closed to the public and other organizations.
“We were able to bring in some of our outside community members for the first time since COVID for this event,” Goshert said.
Organizations present at the event were Pilots for Kids and Assistance League of Long Beach.
Beach Day has been held at MemorialCare Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach for over 30 years. Goshert explained how the first beach day was much different from the one held at houssels forum this year.
“Originally it was very small,” Goshert said. “It was on just a little outside patio right on a patient unit.”
Miller Children’s and Women’s hosts other special events for Halloween and Christmas for patients.
“Anything that we can do that they would normally be doing if they’re not in the hospital if we can bring that here to them, that helps them tremendously,” Goshert said.
For additional information on MemorialCare Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach, click here.
By Brandon Nakao