For many people, the holiday season is the most anticipated time of year, with excitement building months in advance. Spending time with valued family and friends, setting up decorations and lights, sharing in joy and laughter and getting in the holiday spirit means so much to so many. For these same reasons, this time of year can be perhaps the most difficult time to be ill in the hospital.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple opportunities to bring joy into healthcare facilities during the holiday season. In support service areas, such as culinary and housekeeping, there are a number of easy ways to brighten up the mood without distracting from work.
Here are eight suggestions for making the holidays a little more enjoyable for patients, visitors and staff at your facility:
- Serve up some holiday classics. For many people, it’s just not the holidays until you get to enjoy your favorite seasonal dish. Serving special holiday roasts at chef’s table stations or regional casserole favorites for hot entree options can go a long way in sharing the holiday spirit.
- Wear festive attire. 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 the holiday joy to all you encounter.
- Deliver holiday cards to patients. A special 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.
- Provide diet-approved sweet treats. Hot chocolate, warm apple cider and pumpkin pie all help to ring in the holiday season. For patients on sugar-free diets, arranging fruit or vegetables in the shape of turkey or Christmas tree can serve as a healthier yet festive option.
- Build a thankful board. Find a common area to share a posting board for staff, visitors and patients to share what they are thankful for. Messages of thanks during a difficult time can go a long way in providing hope.
- Bring the decorations inside. Setting up Christmas trees, holiday lights, menorahs and more will bring a festive atmosphere into the halls of your facility.
- Create a craft time. Spending holidays in the hospital can be the most difficult for children. Activities such as decorating ornaments or sugar cookies bring a bit of creativity and fun.
- Call in the carolers. Bringing Christmas carolers or Santa Claus to visit with patients is a great way to share some holiday spirit and spread well-wishes across the facility.
For more information about HHS and our unique approach to healthcare support services, please contact us.
Elena Sprick is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Health Coach and works on the Marketing team at HHS.