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Jefferson Regional staff brings jolt of joy to patients ahead of Christmas holiday

A team of employees spent nearly three hours one day, handcrafting more than 100 gifts for patients.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — For a lot of people, something like being admitted to the hospital during the Christmas holiday can really damper your spirits.

But for the patients at Jefferson Regional in Pine Bluff, Christmas came a little early.

"My spirits are good because everybody is so happy around here," said Dorothy "Mandy" Alford, a patient in the hospital.

She is actually a former public health nurse.

Alford has been in the hospital since a little after the Thanksgiving holiday.

"I just am so glad to be around people. It's better than being home alone," Alford said. 

Despite her extended stay so close to Christmas, she is keeping a positive attitude.

So many people, much like her, will be spending the holiday in a hospital bed and away from family.

Amber Harvey works as the manager of corporate education at the hospital and she agrees that not being with loved ones on that special and festive day is tough.

"People never want to be in the hospital, but especially now when you can't have that many visitors and you can't be around that many family members," Harvey said.

No visitors is something all Jefferson Regional employees are familiar with.

That's why they are hoping to bring a little Christmas cheer right to the patient's bedside.

"If we can just bring a small amount of joy, just for a few minutes, we want to do what we can there," Harvey said.

Harvey and a team of employees, known as the employee engagement team, spent nearly three hours one day, handcrafting more than 100 gifts for patients.

"We have some beautiful door hangers. We have everything from hand-painted to stencil glitter," Harvey said.

The team visited nearly all the patient floors in the hospital and handed out the presents.

Letetia Jenkins is the director of nursing at Jefferson Regional and she said the hospital simply wanted their patients to know that they truly care about them.

"Not only are we going to care for you, take care of you, your physical and mental well being, [but] we're also going to give you a little gift and put a smile on your face," Jenkins said.

They consider today a mission accomplished.

They were met with gratitude and appreciation from those that accepted the gifts.

This year is the first year the the employee engagement team was able to pass out gifts to patients.

They are hoping to make it an annual tradition.