How to celebrate Thanksgiving with a loved one in the hospital
Thanksgiving is usually a time when the whole family comes together to celebrate. There is turkey and cranberries and, of course, pumkin pie, and everybody shares something that they are thankful for. But what do we do if a member of the family is laid up in the hospital and can’t be at the family gathering?
We think of how we would feel if we had to miss out on the family celebration, and what we would want done, and then we do our best to make it happen for our loved one.
A family Thanksgiving celebration can happen in the hospital just as it can in your home, if you follow a few basic steps.
Talk to the family
Talk to all the members of the family. Find out how they would feel about spending at least part of Thanksgiving day in the hospital with the sick loved one.
Talk to hospital staff
Talk to the nurse in charge of the unite your loved one is on. Ask if there is anywhere available where your family could have a little celebration together. Explain that you want the patient to be part of your Thanksgiving and ask what would be permissable.
The nurse will have to check with the doctor and will let you know how much the patient can handle, and if you will be allowed to bring food and have a meal together.
Plan the menu for the meal
Plan a menu and divide up responsibilities. Think of it as packing for a picnic.
Plan a program
If your family tradition involves music, make sure the musicians are willing to bring their instruments. If you normally talk about what you are thankful for, make sure everyone is thinking about what they will say. Check with the hospital staff to find out how much the patient will be able to handle before wearing out.
If you can not have a meal together
If it is not possible to have a meal together with the patient, have your dinner early and plan on making up a plate to take to the patient. Bring the meal to the hospital room and let the patient eat before continuing to step 8
Day of celebration
Prepare the food at home, and bring it just before the meal is to be served.
Someone should be at the hospital helping the patient get cleaned up, unless a nurse has promised to take on the responsibility. Another person should supervise setting out the meal.
Wheel the patient to the room when the meal is all set up.
Make sure the patient is served first.
Make the mealtime a joyful celebration, with plenty of laughter and reminiscing.
After the meal, either have someone take the patient back to bed for a short rest while the others clean up before continuing with the celebration, or, if the patient is feeling up to it, continue on in the same room.
Get out the musical instruments and sing, or go around the room listing things you are thankful for. Finish the celebration with hugs and a prayer to have the next celebration around the family table at home.
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