Barely six months after she had first arrived in Eindhoven, Johanna Kleinod set up a branch of the Dutch Christian Women’s Institute (Nederlandse Christen Vrouwenbond) for Eindhoven and the surrounding area. It wasn’t long before she put the need for a protestant-Christian hospital in Eindhoven on the agenda. And by March 1922 the ‘Christian Association for nursing the Sick and Tuberculosis Patients’ had been set up, with Johanna as its president.
The aim of setting up a protestant hospital was not easy to achieve. In the end the hospital was made possible thanks to financial support from Anton Philips, and in 1933 a modest hospital opened its doors at Parklaan 81. In order to avoid any problems with the catholic city council, Johanna Kleinod decided, very cleverly, to initially name the hospital ‘Julianaziekenhuis’, although by the time the hospital opened its doors its name had already been changed to ‘Diaconessenhuis’. Johanna Kleinod herself became president of the board. Her colleague, Mientje Goedegebuure, who was head of social work at Philips, became the manageress. Due to a shortage of nurses, in the early years Johanna regularly helped out as an anesthesia nurse and/or surgical nurse.
It soon became clear that the hospital fulfilled a real need, in particular for the families of the thousands of employees who had been recruited from all over the country to come and work at Philips in Eindhoven. In 1935 – again with financial support from Anton Philips – the ‘Vereniging voor Diaconessenarbeid in Eindhoven en Omstreken’ (‘Association for Deaconess work in Eindhoven and the Surrounding Area’) acquired the stately home known as ‘Elsheim’, which was also located on the Parklaan. It had a large garden which provided the space needed to build a new hospital from scratch. When this hospital opened on January 13, 1940, Johanna Kleinod was appointed a Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau. The hospital had the capacity to admit ninety patients and was equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including an X-ray department installed by Philips and a special wing for the treatment of patients with tuberculosis.