Taylor Rehab Staff and Patients Send Hope to Our Troops Through Operation Care Packages - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on May 26, 2015

Taylor Rehab Staff and Patients Send Hope to Our Troops Through Operation Care Packages

Crozer-Keystone Health SystemMedia Contact:
Mary Wascavage
(610) 284-8619
Mary.Wascavage@crozer.org

Taylor Rehab staff participate in Operation Care Packages for our troops.

Pictured are members of the Taylor Hospital Rehabilitation team with a portion of the food and pillowcases donated to Operation Care Packages.

RIDLEY PARK, PA — Taylor Hospital’s Rehabilitation nursing and therapy staffs, led by staff nurse Kari Stiles, R.N., B.S.N., recently banded together to benefit the nonprofit organization Operation Care Packages.

In mid-March, a call for donations went out and the Rehab team was supplied with pillowcases and fabric markers. Their mission was to decorate the pillowcases for United States troops stationed overseas. Eric Tosti, a staff recreational therapist, came up with the idea to involve rehab patients. He, along with Rehab Nurse Director Alisha Hartunian, were able to recruit patients to participate, including a former Marine, a professional artist and others who had a personal connection to the military.

Operation Care Packages is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to making sure no deployed hero goes without mail. They support soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen through care packages with items such as packaged goods, personal care items and letters of encouragement. One of the things they specifically requested is decorated pillowcases for soldiers’ beds in the medical centers, to help them rest not only their heads but their minds. Stiles decided that this would be a great opportunity to help her rehab patients get better by using their creativity as well as their fine motor skills, and her passion for helping others in need. “As medical professionals dealing with patients in extended recovery, I loved the idea of the pillowcase project to encourage our patients to apply their rehabilitation in ways they may have never considered, all while thinking of our soldiers who are in far more compromised situations,” says Stiles.

Pillowcase for Operation Care Package for our troops.

One of the pillowcases decorated by a patient
of the Taylor Hospital Regional
Rehabilitation Center.

One day when Stiles stopped in to check on the progress of the pillowcases, she came upon four women sitting in the Taylor Hospital Rehab Café chatting and drawing. Each of the patients had a different story; one an orthopedic surgery patient, one patient recovering from an extended hospitalization, and two stroke recovery patients; but all were working toward the same goal: To get better while sending messages of hope to our troops overseas. “Our hope is that our donations will offer a colorful reminder to our soldiers and their crews that we support them 100 percent and send our wishes for healing, rest and calm during their recovery,” Stiles says.

Crozer-Keystone offers comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation services at the Delaware County Memorial Hospital Regional Rehabilitation Center in Drexel Hill as well as the Taylor Hospital Regional Rehabilitation Center in Ridley Park. The goal is to help patients who have had a major medical problem regain the highest level of function possible and return to a less-restrictive lifestyle. These medical conditions include stroke, multiple trauma, brain injury, spinal cord injury and neurological conditions. The sites also offer general rehabilitation services for arthritis, cancer, cardiac and pulmonary disease, as well as issues involving functional decline due to prolonged illness. The pillowcase project can help redevelop fine motor skills for a number of these conditions.

A total of 18 pillowcases were decorated and donated as the result of a combined effort by the patients, staff and staff members’ children. “These projects are more than just pillowcases; they are a representation of our patients’ creative expression and display of our gratitude and support for the troops overseas. The use of art as a modality was very successful for patients with a rehabilitation goal of improving fine motor skills,” says Tosti. In total, the Taylor Rehab team collected 56 pounds of donations, including food, pillowcases and stuffed animals.

Find out more about Crozer-Keystone’s inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs.

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