Keepers of the House

Every day of the week, environmental service workers enter hospital patients’ rooms to clean. Their work may bring a measure of dignity and connection to people who are sick, vulnerable, and away from their familiar homes. Because these workers are assigned to the same specific areas of the hospital, they often develop meaningful relationships with patients and their families. In this 15 minute documentary video, eight housekeepers at Duke Hospital and Duke Regional Hospital talk about their special human relationships with patients and the ways in which they believe their work contributes to healing. It is our hope that the film will enable health care providers and students to see the housekeepers in a new light, and give serious consideration to the vital themes of empathy, humility, and teamwork.

To schedule a special showing or discussion, contact:

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We have prepared a curriculum that will facilitate the use of this film in classrooms and other learning environments. Please see this page for the curriculum. 


“The short film, Keepers of the House, reminds viewers of a simple and profound truth, ….our need for human contact and human kindness in the experience of illness and decline….. In the cold and alien world of imposing clinicians, medical jargon, and invasive tests, the humbleness and helpfulness of housekeepers can inspire trust and invite confidences from frightened, vulnerable and even bored patients.”

– Therese Jones, PhD, Review of “Keepers of the House,” in The Pharos, Winter 2021


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