Most people associate the holidays with joy, family and tradition, but for those who are stuck in a hospital during these times, it might not be an exciting experience. Being unable to celebrate the holidays with your family, in your home and with the traditions you are used to can be incredibly difficult and lonely.
Talking about the significance of patient care is always important day-to-day, but the holidays require a bit of specialized care outside of medical treatment. Nurses do a lot more for their patients than just administering medicine or carrying out procedures. Nurses provide compassion, guidance and empathy to a patient when they are going through a rough time. They are the patient’s most frequent form of contact. This is why patients look to them for comfort and cheering up when they are feeling upset about spending their holidays in the hospital.
Nurses are always looking for ways to make their patients more comfortable and make their stay as pleasant as possible. During the holidays, that may not be as easy. Trying to make patients feel as festive and cheerful in a strange place is the ultimate holiday challenge, but a little extra effort can make all the difference this holiday season.
The holidays aren’t all about giving gifts, but receiving a small present that shows someone was thinking about them can easily brighten their day. A card, flowers or a small holiday decoration might be exactly what a patient needs to start feeling a little more joy during the season.
Being stuck in the same room all day and night can get boring, especially when patients may be used to the bright and festive decorations of the holiday season at home. To help them feel a bit more cheerful, decorating patient rooms, hallways or nurse stations can brighten up the space and make it feel more festive and more like home.
Holidays and traditions usually involve food, so having a small treat you can share with your patients could really brighten their day. Of course, be sure to keep in mind dietary restrictions, allergies and hospital regulations before bringing in treats, especially homemade.
It is important to remember that patients have an entire network of friends and family outside of the hospital environment. One way to make patients feel less lonely during the holidays is to encourage those family and friends to come visit, send cards or even bring in holiday memorabilia from home. Even a simple Skype call with family members who are unable to visit is comforting.
Nurses have a busy schedule and they are constantly on the go, but when possible, an extra five minutes spent visiting, chatting and getting to know the patient will build trust, compassion and comfortability. A fun way to spread cheer could even be to gather a small team to perform bedside carols (20-30 seconds maximum) to get everyone in the spirit.
Being stuck in the hospital during the holidays isn’t ideal, but that doesn't mean that it has to be a sad and lonely experience. When a staff is focused on the significance of patient care, especially during the holidays, patients and nurses can feel brighter and more cheerful all season long.
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