GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — During the pandemic when loved ones were sick with COVID-19, family members were not allowed inside the hospital. Frontline workers had to substitute as family members as well as patient caregivers. Glens Falls Hospital shined a light on that lasting bond.
When caring for COVID-19 patients, many hospital workers were left with feelings of grief and no sense of closure. Glens Falls Registered Nurse Belinda Spinner and her daughter Brooke Taylor came up with an idea to honor the families of each patient who died of COVID-19 at the hospital.
“It’s a time where you can’t share your stories or anything in a hospital room. So I was hoping the COVID-19 lantern would shine a little bit of beauty on that patient who has passed away,” said Spinner.
Nurses have begun writing handwritten letters and delivering glass lanterns to the families who have lost loved ones. The “shine on” lanterns come in different colors, and every bottle has three hearts on it.
“The outer heart stands for the hospital; the middle heart stands for for the staff and employees of the hospital and the center heart stands for the patient that was taken care of by the outer rings,” said Heather Richards, Glens Falls Hospital nurse.
On Tuesday, 14-year-old Landon Stevenson received a birthday gift he will never forget. The Glens Falls Hospital staff gave him a glass lantern filled with notes from many caregivers, sharing their memories of his mom.
Kristen Stevenson, a former nurse at Glens Falls Hospital, was killed in a tragic accident back in January when a truck driver operating a plow struck her in the rear area of the hospital.
Kristen’s sister, Heather Richards, also a nurse at the same hospital, along with Kristen’s son Landon were the first ones to receive a lantern that was not a COVID-19 patient.
“It gives me a constant reminder at home as well as at work that I am supportive, and my sister was loved and taken care of well by not only her co-workers but everybody who calls Glens Falls Hospital home,” said Richards.
The Glens Falls Hospital staff said the lanterns have become a staple at the hospital. The lanterns are a forever keep sake for families who have lost their loved ones during the pandemic.
“We want the families to know that their person was not alone. Their very special person had staff that had developed all of these intimate relationships with them,” said Spinner.
“I would hope that the families know that if the roles were reversed, I took care of their loved ones exactly how I would want my loved ones taken care of,” said Casia Tomlinson, Glens Falls Hospital nurse.