For those in the healthcare industry the holidays will offer extra challenges this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be patients in the hospitals and nursing homes that will not be able to see their family and friends and the mental challenges that go along with that. There will be the struggle of healthcare staff not being able to see their family and friends for fear of exposing them to the virus. Due to exposures and illnesses there will be a shortage of healthcare staff, resources will be stretched thin, and staff will be overworked. However, amid all these challenges there are ways to celebrate the holidays safely and improve the morale of staff and patients.
The first step is to remember that while the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an unprecedented level of patients into healthcare facilities, there is still the ability to help patients and staff celebrate the holidays safely without compromising care. The key is to focus on little touches that remind people of the holidays and what makes them special.
Start with Decorations
A festive atmosphere begins with decorations. Facilities can decorate with Christmas trees, holiday lights, menorahs, snowflakes, garland, etc. to liven up the facility and help get staff and patients in the mood for the season. Encourage family members to send a small decoration that has sentimental value into the facility for their loved one and to share pictures of home decorations. Don’t be afraid to get denominational, just try to be inclusive of all denominations.
Encourage staff to dress up their uniforms with some holiday cheer, a Santa hat, garland necklace, reindeer antlers, holiday pins, etc. It cheers patients up when they enter their rooms in festive attire.
Provide patients with materials to make cards to send to their loved ones, help them to mail them if needed. Leave small festive note cards on food trays. Have housekeeping leave behind a festive note. Have nursing staff draw a small holiday pic on the board at beginning/end of shift. These little but meaningful gestures can brighten both the patient and the staff member’s day.
For child patients and senior centers creating small crafts or decorating sugar cookies can provide creativity and fun. For young and old being in the hospital over the holidays can be difficult, so anything to cheer them up is helpful. Simple crafts that can be taken to each room so patients don’t need to congregate would work in this situation.
While it may be difficult to have any visitors in the facility during the pandemic, you could always ask for staff volunteers at the beginning or end of their shifts to walk down the halls caroling or dressing as Santa for the children.
Virtual Holiday Movies
Encourage family and friends to watch a holiday movie virtually with their loved ones. It gives them the ability to interact doing a traditional holiday activity without being in the facility. There is nothing better than holiday movies to put people in the festive mood and it provides them something to discuss and focus on other than their situation. Patients could even video conference their holiday meals with family.
The whole point is to do the same activities you would typically do during the holidays, you just may have to make a few modifications. Encouraging staff to embrace the holiday spirit can help to increase their morale and decrease their stress during these trying times.
Genesis Medical Management wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season!
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