As the air temperature cools and the fall colors bloom, it is evident that the Holiday Season is round the corner. While the holiday season can be a time for planning, travels and festivities, with family to recharge our batteries, healthcare is one of the few industries exempted from downtime. Caregivers are expected to ‘give away’ the “season of giving”. Holiday Season referred to by most as – the most wonderful time of the year, can be anything but that for many in the Home Health Care industry.
The healthcare industry runs 24/7, for 365 days. Therefore, working holidays is expected. The festive season can bring on long hours, clinicians and other healthcare staff are often expected to work a rotating schedule of nights, weekends on holidays. Spending holidays away from family is not ideal, but it’s an unfortunate reality of the profession. This can leave them emotionally and physically exhausted, making their holiday season less enjoyable. Health care agencies should make it a point to spread holiday cheer with staff and patients. Clinicians do not have to miss out on favourite holiday traditions. Instead, create new ones and adjust old ones to work within available schedule.
This year also, COVID-19 adds new list of challenges, including low resources, crunched staffing, and overrun facilities. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that medical assistants are required to put in some extra time. These few suggestions can help caregivers manage stress during the holidays.
Plan Ahead and Set Expectations
Planning ahead is always a good idea, it’s perhaps never more helpful than during the holiday season. If you know that you will be working for the entirety of the holiday season, then it’s time to set expectations and plan ahead with your loved ones. Communicate with your family about which celebrations you can and cannot attend. While they may not fully understand your job’s demands, assure them that you still plan to celebrate and spend time with them, in person or virtually. While we’re pressured to be extra cheerful during the holiday season, keeping a realistic approach to the season can help manage expectations for these weeks. MIND YOUR MINDSET !
Celebrate Your Holiday Early – Be your own Santa
Start new traditions. If you can’t celebrate on the exact date, choose a different day. After all, the holidays are what you make of them. If your family and friends have a flexible schedule, plan a festive (and safe) get together, uphold traditions, and make the most of your time off. Taking simple steps to make to-do lists or getting things done ahead of time will help keep you more organized and present during the holidays. Finish your gift shopping, decorate your home, bake your favourite treats, whatever is on your list, get it done. Pamper yourself with some gifts or moments to look forward to. Pack your favourite meals or order in for your shifts. Book a spa day or other fun activity after the holidays. Whatever it is, make sure it brings you joy. The bottom line is that this time is precious. Savour the moments with your loved ones and make good memories you can cherish forever. CREATE YOUR OWN CHEER !
Connect with other caregivers
Your peer caregivers are feeling many of the same emotions you are, even when people around you don’t understand. Connect to share your feelings and get tips for holiday survival. If it’s difficult to get to a caregiver support group due to holiday business or weather, try online message boards or social media groups. SHARE YOUR EMOTIONS !
Listen to Your Body
The holiday season brings more stress, more travel, and generally less rest. Combined with the peak of cold and flu season, it’s incredibly important for caregivers to take extra measures to stay healthy. Staying active, hydrated, and well rested are key, but remember to take the time to stay centred and focused within yourself, whether it be through meditation or even just a quick 10-15 deep breaths and relaxation. Your mind and body know best so stay mindful of what you need. PUT YOUR HEALTH FIRST !
Review Your Holiday Shift Policy
The extra shifts and holiday pay can become enticing. Caregivers often become overly ambitious and sign up for multiple overtime or holiday shifts, only to become overfatigued and left scrambling to find a replacement at the last minute, inevitably creating stress for themselves and more so for colleagues, trying to fill the shifts. It’s important to remember that while you might have the best of intentions with earning extra pay by picking up overtime or holiday shifts, the gift of your time and your presence (as opposed to presents) is what your friends and family cherish most. GATHER MORE MEMORIES THAN MONEY !
Lastly and most importantly
Use Technology to Stay Connected
Technological advanced in the field of communication will help you stay connected both ways
Connect with your family virtually
Don’t miss to be a part of family celebrations. This year has been the year for Zoom and other virtual hangouts. If you can’t get together with your friends and family in person or you’re not comfortable with the idea, make your gatherings a virtual affair. Be there while your children open presents or while your family lights the next candle on the menorah—all from the nurse’s station or break room.
Stay connected with your patients with new technologies and advanced Apps
The Home Health industry is commissioned with extremely advanced Apps that helps the clinicians stay connected not only with the patients but their team. The medical team can keep up-to-date information and check on the patient with cutting-edge communication features. “In these times when high-tech solutions are available for every field, it is essential for a Home Health Care Agency to arm their staff with up-to-the-minute technology. Home Health Notify is developed keeping in mind challenging times, and how we can provide useful solutions to combat and reach a win-win situation for all, Patients, Clinicians and the Agency.” Says Salim Bhinderwala, Founder of Home Health Notify.
USE TECHNOLOGY TO ENRICH LIVES !
During these times, which are festive yet challenging, the Home Health Agencies should actively work towards creating opportunities for Inclusive observances. Aside from managing the many additional activities and hectic schedules, making sure associates are healthy and safe during the busiest time of the year is also a main priority. Promoting employee engagement can help caregivers feel a great sense of purpose and belonging – benefiting not only them, but the organization as well. Well decorated office, festive treats and goodies are huge mood lifters.
While building a schedule, skill mix of the staff must be taken into account to ensure the right caregiver is available to care for any need. Some people actually like to work the holidays, so begin by asking for volunteers. Then determine what staff is available to float or be re-assigned from other areas. Administrative staff need to remind managers to enforce the policy, following it closely to ensure fairness.
Thoughtful planning and positive mindset is the key to celebrate this festive season with a smile!