Spending the holidays in the hospital is no one’s idea of a good time, especially for children. But health care providers across the Cape Fear region are doing their best to instill a little holiday spirit for those who find themselves in a hospital during the holiday season.
The pediatric unit at the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital will have child-friendly festive decorations, and the infusion clinic will also be decorated, hospital system spokesman Julian March said.
“We have long-standing traditions of outside organizations providing gifts to children around the holidays. Visits from Santa Claus are in the works, and we have had caroling in the past.
The Family Advisory Council also hosts a meal and holiday events for families at Women’s and Children’s [Hospital],” March said.
He added that multiple areas of New Hanover Regional, including Women’s & Children’s Hospital, surgery, emergency departments and Emergency Medical Services, “will have special stuffed animals available for children during the holidays.”
At Pender Memorial Hospital in Burgaw, also part of the NHRMC health care system, there are stuffed animals in its emergency department to give out to children year-round.
The hospital’s skilled nursing unit held Thanksgiving dinner for patients and their families and a Thanksgiving Day meal for skilled nursing residents and patients, March said.
A holiday party will be held for skilled nursing residents, “with special meals and goodies on Christmas Day,” March said.
The hospital system’s many volunteers also help make the holidays brighter for patients and their families, he said.
At Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center and across hospitals in the Novant Health system, holiday-themed initiatives also are an annual tradition.
Holiday cards made by volunteers are placed on patient trays and given to patients, Novant Health spokeswoman Ashton Miller said.
Home volunteer groups also continue the year-round tradition of giving blankets and caps to newborns and teddy bears to children in the hospital.
The Bolivia hospital is also brightened with holiday decorations, and holiday music is played on a piano in the lobby, Miller said.
As Christmas approaches, patients will hear caroling by hospital staff and administrators, she added.
Team members will give back to the community through Brunswick Family Assistance’s Christmas Basket/Tree of Hope program, which provides gifts to disadvantaged children and food baskets to families, Miller said.
Language of Caring LLC, a health care organization advisory company, offers some tips to health care providers to help make the holiday season brighter for hospital patients.
“As much as everyone would prefer to be home celebrating, there are patients needing care every day of the year. By expressing caring in ways that can be felt, you can ease a patient’s holiday hospitalization,” according to the company’s website
“Share a meaningful moment with family members who have had their holiday disrupted by an illness or accident,” the website advises. “Empathize with coworkers who are also missing their family and friends. In this way, holidays in the hospital can be seen as opportunities for connecting and offering compassion to people when they need it most.”