Holidays are one of the most exciting and fun times of year because they allow you to spend time with the people who matter most to you and to give gifts that will bring a smile to the face of someone special. However, the holidays can also be depressing if you are watching your patients battle serious diseases. Here are a few ways that you can bring some warmth and cheer to your patients during one of the most special times of the year:
- Encourage families to have another celebration. If it is possible, encourage patients’ families to have their Christmas celebrations after the patients are discharged.
- Bring holiday cheer with you. Give each of your patients a pretty Christmas card to hang in their rooms where they can see them often. If possible, try to add a decoration or two, just to give the room a seasonal flair. The decorations do not have to be extravagant. Even the smallest effort will be appreciated by your patients.
- Show that you care. Let your patients know that you realize how hard it is to be in the hospital during the Christmas season. Just a smile, a hug, or a kind word of understanding can do wonders to raise your patients’ spirits.
- Bring gifts. Many auxillary groups set aside funds to buy patient gifts. A pair of soft slippers, appropriate snacks, or some stationary can help the patient feel more involved in the holidays and can ward off depression.
- Encourage writing and reading. A good book can be an effective distraction from the away-from-home holiday blues. If the patient seems to be in good spirits, you can encourage this by helping him or her fill out holiday cards for visitors.
Since so much of the beauty of the holiday season involves being involved with family and friends, being in the hospital can lead to a sense of isolation and depression for many. As a nurse, it is important to do your part to lift patients’ spirits and to help them enjoy the Christmas season in any way they can.