Thanksgiving: A Time to Offer Appreciation for Long-Term Care Staff

According to the song, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” but for some it is not necessarily true of the holiday season.  The holidays present a number of challenges for many – never enough time, multiple food requests, family pressures, scheduling, and of course cleaning, shopping and cooking.

Kicking off the holiday season is Thanksgiving, a time when we anticipate gatherings with family and watching football.  But not everyone is planning to do so, as many of us work in long-term-care and there is no closing for the holiday.

It is always a difficult time for scheduling time off, and not everyone can be off at the same time. Be aware of the staff who do not get the time off that they requested, or who simply chose to work, and make the day special for them. As the leader, if you take the day off, take time to stop by for a while and let them know that you care, are thankful for each one of them, and appreciate the sacrifice.

Think also about the residents you serve and how some may have no close family or friends, and include them as part of your community family.  Make it special for them, too.  Involve them in the holiday celebration, discuss holiday memories with them and make this holiday memorable.

Understand that the time surrounding holidays can be stressful for residents, families and staff and we don’t always know what goes on in their home or within family dynamics.  So, be gentle and understanding that sometimes their behavior is a reflection of the additional stress brought on by the holidays.  We routinely held staff meetings just to remind everyone about the stress of the season and the resulting impact so that we would all be reminded to be supportive and extra kind to one another.

We all strive to provide a beautiful, meaningful and memorable holiday season for ourselves and our families.  Our staff members are no different. They, too, are feeling the stress and pressure to provide these memories for themselves and their own families.

Remember the reason for the holiday is Thanksgiving.  Think of all that you have to be thankful for, all of the blessings in your life.  Write down what you are thankful for, share them with others, and encourage colleagues to do the same.

You take the lead; show how thankful you are for the staff and make this Thanksgiving one to remember, you can help to make it that way—at least at work!

Wishing you, your family and friends a very Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

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