The year was 1995. A partnership deal between St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital and Steinhauer School was officially signed. Students have been visiting St. Joseph’s regularly ever since. Now, 20 years later, the partnership is still flourishing.
St. Joseph's Hospital resident Robert Hergott says the partnership with Steinhauer is great. "I just love the gardening, the pumpkin carving, the egg colouring and the Halloween costumes. I have pictures of every event, I think. They bring us so much good times."
The goal of the partnership is to increase awareness and knowledge of health, wellness and aging issues. The partnership is also a way to teach elementary students empathy and compassion for those in the community.
“We are both neighbouring institutions trying to serve and best meet our people’s needs. Individuals in a long-term care setting might not be able to do what they did in the past but they still enjoy watching and being part of life and our community. Children enjoy the guidance, love and growth,” says Carolyn Rein, Recreation Therapist at the hospital.
The positive effects of having the residents mix and mingle with the students are visible to the staff, too.
“They enjoy the kids’ performances and interaction with our residents. I remember one nursing instructor crying after she watched the spontaneous uninhibited communication that came from one of our residents who suffers with dementia. Great moments like this stay with us forever and ensure that we make the small effort to ensure this partnership remains active,” says Carolyn.
Residents and students came together to celebrate the success of their 20-year partnership with a special school event and assembly in May. The school presented the residents with a mosaic plaque in honour of the recognition at the anniversary celebration.