Patient Experience Knows Neither Holidays Nor the Days After
December 9, 2016
Holidays are “the best of times and the worst of times.” The intensity of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s brings much joy to many and as much melancholy and sadness to others.
For patients in the hospital and their families, it is a mixed blessing to see holiday paraphernalia everywhere around them in the hospital and still be in the hospital. So, what can we do to make this easier?
This is a time when words and actions need to match. The patient experience knows neither holidays nor vacations. It only knows what is happening in the moment.
I wrote that in 2014. This year, in 2016, the world continues to change at a speed few of us can fully grasp. Our relationship to self and others continually modulates to respond to the tides of our personal economy and the anniversaries that show up each year.
Many of us struggle with the “season” that offers memories of times past, but also leaves us with greater sadness looking to an unpredictable future.
For patients in the hospital, staff sensitivity to the seriousness of their situation and the uncertainty they face will be imprinted on their experience, not only as patients, but also inside their own humanness.
So, in the next few weeks, think about the paradox of the holidays — the double-sided coin of celebration that includes grief, and the ways to be appropriate to support those in your care. Make decisions that are grounded in caring, one person at a time, one patient at a time.
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