Employees give back to Swedish Covenant Hospital


During the month of June, Swedish Covenant Hospital celebrated employee philanthropy through the annual We Care Employee Giving Campaign. Annually, nearly 200 employees give a total of $100,000 to support patient care initiatives, including the Family Birthing Center, cancer care and the Helping Hands Fund. Read on to meet a few of our employee donors and learn why they support Swedish Covenant Hospital.

Gary Duffy, Engineering Manager

Gary Duffy has contributed to the growth of Swedish Covenant Hospital in many ways since he joined the organization in 1996. As the Engineering Manager, he has been part of nearly every project from the construction of Galter Medical Pavilion and Foster Medical Pavilion to the renovation of almost every patient floor and the Emergency Department. He has also contributed financially as a Swedish Covenant Hospital donor.

While it is the capital structures that consume Gary’s days, he believes it is the people that truly make Swedish Covenant Hospital unique.

“Hospitals and healthcare are challenging financially and everyone at Swedish Covenant Hospital works together to make things work,” Gary said.

In addition to working at Swedish Covenant Hospital, Gary and his family also receive their healthcare here. He is grateful for the care he has received, in addition to his employment.

“Swedish Covenant Hospital has done a lot for me and given me a lot of opportunities,” Gary said.

Alicia Juska, PharmD, BCPS, Pharmacy Residency Program Director

As an employee, Alicia Juska has seen the impact that philanthropy makes for the patients she serves at Swedish Covenant Hospital. Because of this, she chooses to give back to Swedish Covenant Hospital through financial support, as well as by participating in Team SCH.

“I see this as the best way to give back because I know my donations are going to good use,” Alicia said.

Alicia has worked at Swedish Covenant Hospital for 15 years. The community-focused approach to healthcare, the diversity of the patients and employees, as well as the professional opportunities that have allowed her to continue to grow, contribute to her longevity at the hospital.

Alicia has been a member of Team SCH for three years, completing a half marathon, sprint triathlon, and this year will be competing in an international triathlon to benefit Swedish Covenant Hospital.

“It’s a good team to join and I like that it supports hospital programs,” Alicia said. “I would probably sign up anyways, so why not participate in a way that benefits the hospital?”

Pat Zeller, Manager of PACU, Endoscopy and Anesthesia

For more than 50 years, nursing has been an important part of Pat Zeller’s life. It is because of her commitment to the profession that she gives back by supporting nursing scholarships at Swedish Covenant Hospital.

“I see how many of our young nurses struggle financially,” Pat said. “Many are neighborhood kids that are needy and pay for school themselves.”

Pat is grateful for the education she received from St. Mary of Nazareth School of Nursing, and the unique experiences she had as a student at a hospital-based program. Now that nursing schools have shifted to university-based, she sees her role training nursing students at Swedish Covenant Hospital as critically important. Pat is a firm believer in continuing education, and recently completed her Master’s Degree in Nursing at the age of 69.

As a mentor to nursing students, and supporter of nursing scholarships, Pat is “passing the baton” to the next generation of nurses.

To learn more about employee philanthropy, click here, or contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or

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NICHE Carts improve care for patients with cognitive impairment


Elderly patients with cognitive impairments, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or delirium, present unique challenges for hospital staff. Some patients may become resistant and attempt to remove IVs or other medical equipment. And, staff didn’t feel they had the proper tools to address this issue.

With funds from generous donors, a multidisciplinary team of staff created activity diversion carts for senior patients. Stocked with purposeful activities meant to stimulate the senses, these carts have greatly improved care for patients with cognitive impairments. The carts were introduced in 2015 and there are now seven carts throughout the hospital.

The carts are part of the NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) initiative at Swedish Covenant Hospital. The hospital was recently redesignated “Senior-Friendly” by NICHE, which indicates the hospital’s commitment to caring for the special needs of patients over 65. Swedish Covenant Hospital has been a NICHE hospital since 2004.

Linda Beagley, MS, RN, CPAN, who chairs the NICHE committee, shared one story of how the carts have made a difference. When the initiative was first launched, staff was having difficulties communicating with a patient who was hospitalized as a result of a stroke and had limited English proficiency. A caregiver offered her a doll from the cart, which helped soothe and provide purpose for the patient. The patient carried the doll with her throughout the unit and took care of the doll by tucking it into bed.

“It is gratifying that the cart was so purposeful for that one patient,” Linda said.

The activity carts expand the choice of activities for confused or bored patients. Nurses and CNAs determine which activity from the cart is most appropriate for each patient, and will offer an activity based on each patient’s needs. The NICHE committee is continuously testing new activities to add the cart. Some of the more popular items include playing cards, puzzles, and markers and colored pencils for coloring.

Since the implementation of the carts, staff has noticed an improvement for patients and staff.

“It has made caring for patients with cognitive impairments easier,” Maryanne Graf, nurse on 4N and NICHE committee member said. “It’s also nice to be able to offer patients and families something.”

To learn more about supporting initiatives like NICHE carts, contact the Foundation at or 773.293.5121.

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Healing Arts Program brightens Psychiatric Unit


Earlier this month, patients in the Galter Medical Pavilion patient testing area experienced the healing power of art through a live art demonstration. Artist-in-Residence Kari Lindholm-Johnson painted a 3½ x 6½ foot mural while patients had the opportunity to color a smaller version. The mural is one of three that will decorate the day room on the inpatient psychiatric unit.

The project was born from a need to create a more calming and welcoming space for patients on the psychiatric unit.

“Through researching art for psychiatric units, I found that art decreases anxiety levels, especially artwork that is based on savannas,” Kari said.

The murals are based on photographs of the Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve by Chris Johnson. Purchased by a restaurateur in 1969, the Texas ranch was restored to its natural habitat and has become one of the largest habitat restoration projects in the state.

“It’s a great theme for healing when contemplating restoration of land,” Kari said.

The art project has been a collaboration between staff, patients and students. Claire Waterman, Wheaton College Community Art Intern, painted the study for the murals for the psychiatric unit’s day room, and students from North Park University helped with the underpainting.

The murals will be installed on the unit this spring. Once installed, they will be actively used to prompt patient art making and reflection as well as enhance their experience in that area.

Art groups are held weekly in the psychiatry unit’s day room during quiet time. Patients are provided with paints and things to paint on and are encouraged to express themselves creatively through the process.

“Patients often say that it’s so nice to sit and relax and create,” Kari said. “They often make things for their kids or others through the program.”

In addition to the psychiatry unit, the Healing Arts program includes regular art groups on the extended care and rehabilitation units, in the cancer center, and through individual visits. In 2017, a Certified Music Practitioner, was added, bringing song to patients and families on three units weekly. The program reaches more than a thousand patients each year through art and music experiences.

To learn more about the Healing Arts Program, contact the Foundation at or 773.293.5121.

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