During the holiday season, cheer and generosity abound here in Langley. It’s a time when most of us stop to reflect on events of the past year and to take time to show our appreciation for loved ones.

For a small portion of the population however, this time of celebration is interrupted by health challenges that take them away from home and to the hospital.

But our care teams take the time to do all they can to improve the experience and bring cheer.

“We make an effort to take part in the holiday activities around the hospital,” says Tammy Karoway, manager of Medical Imaging at Langley Memorial Hospital.

“We decorate our doors with festive and creative scenes and we invite a Christmas caroling group to come through. And, of course, Santa visits. It’s good for staff morale, and if staff are in good spirits than that translates to the patients as well.”

Shelly Krautsieder, patient care coordinator in the Pediatrics Unit, couldn’t agree more.

“In pediatrics we are very lucky because we get to wear seasonal uniforms. The kids love that. Being able to decorate really makes a difference with the kids’ spirits.”

The unit embraces, not just patient-centred care, but a family-centred care philosophy.

“We encourage any family and friends who want to visit to come in…whatever will help the kids and families feel calmer about having to be here over the season, we will bend over backwards to make happen.

“And kids are way hardier than adults. They can be so sick and still want to play…there is nothing like that.”

Lisa Cant, patient care coordinator on the Critical Care Unit agrees that typically, it’s a happy place here at Langley Memorial. But the experience is tough on both patients and their families.

“A lot of our patients are elderly, so having this hospital in the community allows family members to easily come see them. It’s better than if they were sent to another hospital in the Fraser Valley.

“We try our best to get people home for the holidays or to invite family to come in and spend time with their loved ones. But most people who are here on the Critical Care Unit really need to be here. They are not thinking, ‘I want to go home’ because they are in the thick of it.”

We are sharing stories from staff at Langley Memorial Hospital that provide insight into what the hospital is like during the holidays and reflect what inspires the team when times are tough.

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