Christmas in Hospital
For most children, Christmas is the most exciting time of the year - a time packed with parties, presents and lots of yummy food. But what about those children who have to spend Christmas in hospital? Healthcare staff make every effort they can to get children home for at least part of Christmas day, but sadly some children are just too poorly to make this trip.
Having a child in hospital over Christmas is hard for all the family, impacting siblings and care-givers as well as the poorly child. Some children might be worried that Santa won’t know where to visit them, and those old enough will be well aware of all that they are missing out on.
Recognising how difficult a time this can be, hospital staff make every effort to ensure that the festive period feels as Christmassy and special as possible. Families are encouraged to be involved too, for example, by letting staff know about family traditions and how these might be incorporated into the hospital routine.
We spoke to Health Play Specialist, Nitisha, about her experiences supporting children in hospital over Christmas; this is what she had to say:
“We know it’s not a child’s first choice to be in hospital over Christmas, so we do our very best to make sure they have as much fun as possible. There are always fun and festive activities for patients and their families to get involved in, including arts & crafts like card-making and bauble decorating, and fun Christmas games. Some hospitals even have a special Christmas party especially for the patients – and the staff make sure that everyone who wants to can attend, even in their own hospital bed if needed.”
“Sometimes children want a quieter Christmas if they’re feeling unwell. We make sure that there is a range of movies available to watch or books to read. It is sometimes even possible to borrow a video games console from the hospital.”
And Nitisha has this special message for anyone worried about Santa coming:
“Although you are in hospital, we make sure to let Santa know exactly where you are so he can make sure your presents are delivered. If you have forgotten to write your letter to Santa, you can do it right from the ward and ask one of the team to send it off for you.”
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Little Journey.
The Sick Children Trust runs a Christmas appeal to support families facing Christmas in hospital: https://www.sickchildrenstrust.org/christmas/
The Rainbow Trust, supporting families with a seriously ill child has guidance about coping in hospital: https://www.rainbowtrust.org.uk/coping-with-christmas-in-hospital