Keepers of the House: A documentary.



Our documentary, Keepers of the House, highlights ways that hospital housekeepers, typically unnoticed care team members, provide emotional support for patients and their families. This film addresses a gap in education by emphasizing the importance of valuing and reflecting on the unique lived experiences of others.


We created this documentary to expose students to the experiences and perceptions of hospital housekeepers. A focus group with six hospital housekeepers informed an interview script for the film's creation. Nine additional housekeepers were then interviewed, which developed into a 15-min documentary. Healthcare students and educators from five disciplines viewed the documentary during their institution's Medical Education Day.


To expose students and educators to housekeepers' experiences, we designed our post-viewing survey to address whether the housekeepers' stories impacted their understanding of the role and value of these workers. Viewers were surprised by the depth and breadth of patient-housekeeper interactions, the trauma housekeepers experienced from patient loss and the pride housekeepers take in their work. The stories that touched the viewers varied but centred on connections between housekeepers and patients. Lessons learned focused on recognizing the contributions of unseen team members.


This innovative documentary amplifies the perspectives of voices rarely heard in healthcare. We aim to use this film, alongside its associated learning session, in education and grand round settings to foster discussion around empathy, valuing underrecognised team members and applying these insights in practice. This work can be disseminated to other institutions, further amplifying underrepresented narratives in healthcare.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Alexopoulos, Evangelia A, Emily P Guinee, Kearsley A Stewart, Candace S Brown, Deborah T Gold, Deborah Engle, Francesca Talenti, Rhonda Klevansky, et al. (2022). Keepers of the House: A documentary. The clinical teacher, 19(1). pp. 36–41. 10.1111/tct.13439 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Kearsley A Stewart

Professor of the Practice of Global Health

Deborah T. Gold

Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

My research has centered on the psychosocial consequences of chronic illness for older adults. Although I have studied breast cancer, syncope, head and neck cancer, Parkinson's disease and Paget's disease of bone, my primary interest and focus has been on osteoporosis and its psychological and social impact on those who suffer from it.

In particular, my current research focuses on compliance and persistence with osteoporosis medications. One current study focuses on the impact of race/ethnicity on medication decision making. We are trying to determine the relative weight of cost, convenience, dosing interval, efficacy, and safety in making medication decisions and taking medication on a regular basis as prescribed by a health care provider. I am also on the Steering Committees of two major observational studies with different osteoporosis medications.

Finally, I have worked with voluntary health organizations to translate our research findings into positive real-world outcomes for people with chronic illness. I serve on the Board of Trustees of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and am Chair of its Education Committee. I have also chaired the International Symposium on Osteoporosis (ISO) for the last 8 years.


Deborah Lynn Engle

Associate Professor of the Practice of Medical Education

I currently serve as the Assistant Dean for Assessment and Evaluation for the MD program and as Associate Professor of the Practice of Medical Education. My medical education expertise includes best practices in assessment, program evaluation, curriculum design and scholarship. My research interests focus on assessment of clinical skills, predicting learner performance across the medical education continuum, faculty development in medical education, and interprofessional education.


Neil Stuart Prose

Professor of Dermatology

Research interests:
My overall area of interest is pediatric dermatology. In the course of providing patient care, my aim is to advance scientific knowledge in this field. This goal is achieved through clinical observation, clinical trials,
and collaboration with laboratories exploring the molecular basis of disease.

I am also interested in providing care for skin disease in developing countries. In the course of a number of projects in Latin America and Africa, I have developed protocols and teaching manuals for this purpose.

Finally, I am actively involved in developing new models for teaching doctor-patient communication to medical students, residents, and practicing physicians in all fields of medicine. My work on this includes some new methods for teaching empathic communication in the course of traditional morbidity and mortality conferences.

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