For many people, the holiday season is the most anticipated time of year. Spending time with valued family and friends, setting up decorations and lights, sharing in joy and laughter, and getting in the holiday spirit is what this time is all about. It’s also what can make this time of year difficult for those in hospitals or healthcare facilities.
Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to bring that same joy and happiness into these facilities during the holiday season. Here are some simple ways to celebrate the holidays and bring that cheerful spirit to patients, visitors and staff at your facility:
Setting up Christmas trees, holiday lights, menorahs, and more will bring a festive atmosphere into the facility halls that may be a little dreary. Not only that, decorating is one of the easiest ways to celebrate, and it encourages creativity and participation.
Studies have also shown that those who put up decorations earlier are happier, so go crazy with the tinsel if you want!
Cards and Notes
A simple note on a food tray delivery or a season’s greetings card left behind by a housekeeper lets patients know that others are thinking of them during the holiday season. The smallest gestures often make people feel the most valued, which is how anyone who visits a healthcare facility should feel.
For many people, it’s just not the holidays until you get to enjoy your favorite seasonal dish. If possible, take the time to find out some of your patient’s familiar favorites and make it for them this season. If not, try swapping out some of the snacks you serve year-round for more festive options.
For patients on restricted or sugar-free diets, arranging fruit or vegetables in holiday shapes or incorporating alternatives to the usual holiday dishes is a great way to make everyone feel involved.
Though a new holiday uniform may not be a feasible option, adding some holiday flair--such as reindeer antlers, a santa hat or an ‘ugly Christmas sweater’-- helps to spread some holiday joy. Better yet, hold a holiday contest for patients and team members to show off their best festive wear.
It’s no fun to miss out on holiday activities just because you’re in a hospital. If able, encourage patients to participate in small crafts or write letters to loved ones they may not see this holiday season.
Playing the holiday hits or calling in the carolers is a great way to create a cheerful environment for those who really need it. Ask patients their favorite holiday songs or movies and incorporate that into the facility’s normal rotation. It may just brighten someone’s day.