Friday is cupcake therapy day

Cupcake therapy at Mott Children's HospitalSpending time in the hospital isn’t a piece of cake, but on Fridays at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital it’s cupcake time. Every Friday afternoon, we host Cupcake Therapy in the Family Center. Cupcake Therapy is a great informal time for family members and patients to relax and enjoy decorating cupcakes.

Each week we have a theme based on the season or what’s happening at the University or in the Health System. We’ve done St. Patrick’s Day, spring flowers, March Madness, maize and blue and even made Despicable Me-themed Minion cupcakes. Chef Steve Shifano and his staff bake the cupcakes and the Family Center provides the frosting and all the decorations. Ann Hendrick, Family Center Coordinator, and I roll out the cupcake cart each Friday. We create a few sample cupcakes each week and those who come down to decorate use our theme and then express their own creativity.

We started calling it Cupcake Therapy after one of our Friday regulars came down and said he was there for Cupcake Therapy. It really is a relaxing time for people to sit at the table and be creative. While they are decorating their cupcakes, conversations start up among families about their experiences at Mott or just everyday topics. It’s a casual way for people to connect with one another.

People have spent 30 to 40 minutes decorating a cupcake. I especially love when someone who was reluctant to participate at first gets really into the decorating. They are usually the ones spending the most time and then photographing their creation.

Cupcake therapy at Mott Children's HospitalParents and family members frequently drop in to make a cupcake for a patient or to share with a nurse or doctor. For those who don’t eat their cupcake right away, we box them up. We can also put together a “cupcake kit” to take up to a patient room. This includes the frosted cupcake and all the decorations for the week. That way, patients who cannot come down to the Family Center can enjoy creating a cupcake in their room.

They may seem like “just cupcakes,” but the entire Cupcake Therapy experience appears to be so much more to these families and patients. It’s one of the favorite parts of my week.

Take the next steps:

  • Learn more about the Family Center.
  • Learn more about Patient and Family Centered Care at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
  • Watch our Facebook page for updates about the weekly cupcake theme, and let us know your suggestions for future themes using the comment tool at the bottom of this article.

Bryana BaylyBryana Bayly is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience. She’s a dedicated volunteer at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. She hopes to one day have a career in psychiatry and work with children who have autism. She’s originally from Rochester Hills, Mich.