The Colonel and the Housekeeper
June 11, 2020 3:48 PM Subscribe
As the coronavirus pandemic has forced hospitals to impose strict restrictions on visitors and clergy, the work of people like Quinteros has become even more important, say health care experts. They don't just keep the rooms clean of harmful germs. Many also try to lighten the mood with smiles or jokes, provide encouragement when patients lose hope and offer an attentive ear when patients need to process their emotions. And so it was that a housekeeper from Guatemala and a retired Air Force colonel met in a hospital room in Florida. And slowly, one began to heal the other. "I don't think she realized at the time what she was doing for me," Denney told CNN in recent interview. "She was saving my life." (Daniel Burke, CNN)
Though hospital housekeepers are often measured by standards of productivity—how many rooms they clean—hospital executives are beginning to realize their larger importance.
Prose, the Duke doctor, said custodians are often ignored by doctors and other high-level hospital staff. But after studying their role and making a short documentary about them, he realized how crucial they are.
"We quickly realized that they often interact with patients more than physicians do," Prose has said, "and they do so with great compassion."
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