SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) – Hospital workers went above and beyond to care for patients during the pandemic, but a housekeeper at the Hospital of Central Connecticut went out of his way to help alleviate patient loneliness.
“I was making my rounds through the ICU and most of the patients there are medicated so not responsive. There happened to be this elderly patient and I went in and he greeted me as soon as I walked in. He expressed how lonely he was and afraid,” said Hipolito Pedraza.
This was at the height of the pandemic when visitor restrictions were in place, making a hospital stay even more scary and even more lonely. “At the end of the day when I went home, I kept thinking about this gentleman and what he was going through,” shared Pedraza.
After working the night shift, Pedraza who is a housekeeper for The Hospital of Central Connecticut went and bought that man a get well card. “He was so happy, he was so happy” added Hipolito. That is how it all started. “If this gentleman is feeling this way, all the other patients must be feeling the same way. That’s what drew me towards reaching out to other patients,” continued Pedraza.
Hundreds of cards and a couple of years later, Hipolito is still buying get well cards with his own hard-earned money. “Every pay day I go and purchase cards. Once a week, I pick a unit and I pass out the cards.”
It’s like two ships passing in the night. “90% of the time they’re sleeping so what I’ll do is I’ll take the card out of the envelope and present it on the table facing them so when they wake up that’s the first thing they see.”
Hipolito doesn’t sign the cards personally, instead he signs each card from the Environmental Services Department. “I just empathize with people so much, I love people,” said Hipolito
Hipolito has also used his holiday bonus money to stock up on cards for the patients. He hopes this program will be adopted by other Hartford Healthcare hospitals.