Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D. Blog

Thoughts and ideas on healthcare

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I'm Susan E. Mazer -- a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more.

Patient Experience Knows No Holidays

December 5, 2014

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-dreamland-amazing-artwork-your-pleasure-your-projects-image38763106Holidays 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.

Not everyone celebrates Christmas and of those that do, not all are religious. It’s one more place to provide balance.

Chanukah is linked to Christmas by date, but not by meaning.

Muslim, Hindu, Native American, and other cultures and beliefs may be uncomfortable surrounded by holiday trappings that they do not believe in.

As a musician, patient, family member, and someone sensitive to the diversity of beliefs, I suggest balancing holiday offerings with offerings the rest of the year. Do this by providing a variety of music and seasonal decorations that are not identified with a specific religion.

Also, celebrate kindness, compassion, and concern everyday in every way.  Holidays bring out the best and the best is needed the rest of the year.

Include rituals of caring that go beyond clinical protocols to nurture both caregiver and patient. Serve cookies, have music at the bedside, invite clowns or pets to visit patients — all of these things lift the spirits and contribute to a healing experience.

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