As I know from personal experience, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time for hospital patients and their families. My grandfather had a tragic accident only a few weeks before Christmas last year and was in the hospital for over a month- including Christmas day. Luckily, the hospital staff was wonderful about the holidays and did everything they could to bring holiday cheer to the hospital.
[pullquote]The hospital staff was wonderful about the holidays and did everything they could to bring holiday cheer to the hospital. [/pullquote]
In fact, all the nurses in the ward dressed up as Santa’s elves on Christmas and delivered small gifts to the patience staying in the hospital. This tradition made Christmas in the hospital much better for my family and especially my grandfather. I thought I would share a couple other holiday traditions that healthcare providers do to help their patients cope with the stress of holidays in the hospitals.
In Philadelphia, Byberry Mental Hospital, which was once infamous for the mistreatment of their patients, began reforming their policies in the early 1970s. One of the first changes they made, in fact, was to their policies regarding the holidays, extending invitations to the staff Christmas party to the patients as well! Every year until the hospital closed a few decades later, the patients of Byberry Mental Hospitals joined their nurses and doctors for holiday treats, Christmas carols, and presents. Staff members even had their kids dress up as Santa’s helpers to deliver the gifts to each of the patients!
In Iowa at Blank Hospital, Santa is employed every year to visit all the children in the Hospital (even the neonatal unit!) so that they can get their picture taken with the jolly old man and receive a gift. The gifts are generously donated by member of the surrounding neighborhoods, making this tradition a result of selfless community effort.
In Alabama, Bryce hospital celebrates with the Bryce Harley Ride where members of the Heart of Dixie Harley Owners Group ride from the Harley dealership in Tuscaloosa to Bryce hospital with their motorcycle weighed down with gifts. The gifts are supplied entirely by the members of the motorcycle group for the children and adolescent patients to enjoy during the holiday season!
Do you have any fun or unique holiday traditions where you work? Let us know!