In December, having a surgical procedure is particularly stressful because most people are trying to get ready for the holidays. The added stress of preparing for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa can make going to an ASC even more difficult. Be sure your Ambulatory Surgery Center puts some fun holiday traditions in place to alleviate some of this. Creating a cheerful, holiday environment will help alleviate some of your patients' stress and contribute to a pleasanter working atmosphere for your staff.
Do Elf on the Shelf with a Twist
There are thousands of Internet posts about people using their "Elf on a Shelf" as a fun way to engage with their families and friends. You can do the same at your ASC, moving the Elf around the office, waiting room, and reception area. Bonus points for giving the little guy a few props, such as holding a thermometer or filling out a prescription. You can take pictures of the Elf as he moves around and post them on your ASC's website or Facebook page.
Put up a Christmas tree in the reception area, drape the front desk in garland, and invest in a few live poinsettias. Any room instantly looks friendlier and more inviting if you’ve decorated it for the holidays. Consider switching out your standard music for some holiday songs in December. A festive atmosphere will help people relax and is a personal touch that everyone appreciates. Don't forget to add something for everyone. Augment Christmas decorations with a menorah and give a nod to other religions as well. Making everyone feel celebrated and being inclusive is especially important during the holidays.
Share Holiday Recipes
The holidays are when families gather to share love and celebrate joys. Gathering for food is a natural part of this. Ask each staff member to write down a favorite holiday recipe, then either print them out on recipe cards or put together an inexpensive pamphlet of holiday recipes. Put them out in baskets at the front desk with a sign inviting patients to take some recipes home with them.
The Gift of Giving
Work with a local charity to establish a fundraiser through your ASC. You can put out a decorated jar for donations at the front desk, making sure you indicate that all proceeds go to charity.
"Angel Trees" have become quite popular these days and are an excellent way to personalize giving for patients. These trees are usually coordinated with local organizations such as a children's hospital, the Salvation Army, or a local church. The trees are decorated with tags that feature the name and personal information of individuals who need holiday donations. Your employees and patients can choose a person off the tree and then purchase gifts off their wish list.
Offer a Holiday Payment Grace Period
Money is tight for many families during the holidays. If your ASC is in a solid financial position, offer a payment grace period in December. Many patients will breathe a sigh of relief if they realize they can push back a payment until January, allowing them to use that money for their children’s gifts or family travel.
Consider Flex Time for Employees
Don't forget to take care of your employees during the holidays. You're sure to spread some joy if you offer an extra, flexible day off to staff members during the holidays. Let them take a day for religious observances, holiday shopping, or simply to take a much-needed breather from the hectic pace without a penalty or giving up a day somewhere else. Although you may need to juggle schedules a bit, your employees will appreciate it long after the decorations have been put away.
Spreading holiday joy at your ASC can be as simple as wishing "Happy Holidays!" to every patient when they arrive and as they leave. A heartfelt wish is always welcome this time of year.
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