Most of us are accustomed to going to a Christmas tree, hoping to find a gift with our name on it. But this year, visitors at Kipling Hospital have the opportunity to go to a Christmas tree and find a way to give a gift to one of the residents in long-term care at the facility.
“Typically, the staff here have done up a list of our long-term care residents, and each of them have chosen a resident to buy a gift for. But I thought it would be nice to invite other members of the community to take part in this. So, I sat down with some of the staff and we started throwing ideas around,” said Brandi Arnason (Health Services Manager – Kipling Integrated Health Centre).
“In Whitewood (where I’m from), they had started a really nice tradition that my family and I always enjoyed taking part in. I thought it would work well in Kipling too. So, I mentioned it to the other staff members – and we agreed to start the same tradition here.
“We set up a Christmas Tree in the acute care portion of the hospital (where it’s visible to more people). Then we put one ornament on the tree for each of the residents in long-term care.
“In order to protect each resident’s privacy, we haven’t put any names on the ornaments (though each ornament is numbered so that the staff know which resident it’s for). On the back of each one, we’ve indicated whether the person is male or female and listed three gift suggestions for them, based on the resident’s ‘wish list’ and suggestions from the staff.
“People in the community are invited to come to the hospital, take an ornament and buy a gift for that resident. Then they are asked to bring that wrapped gift and the ornament (so that we know who each gift is for) back to the hospital and leave it with the staff – who will pass those gifts on to the residents on Christmas Day!”
She adds that staff are determined to ensure that every long-term care resident as well as patients in acute care over Christmas receive a gift.
“The staff will be buying gifts for anyone whose ornament is left on the tree. And we also intend to buy gifts for those acute care patients that we know are likely to be with us over Christmas.”
Arnason says that by inviting members of the community to take part in what the staff hopes will become an annual tradition, residents in Long-Term Care can continue to feel that they part of that community.
“For our Long-Term Care residents – this is ‘home’. But over the past couple of years especially, most of our residents haven’t had the opportunity to go outside of their home and spend time in the community. That’s left many people feeling isolated.
“And while some of our residents will be having family members visit them over the holidays – other residents don’t have family living close by. So, they might not see any visitors during Christmas.
“So, we’re hoping that this will be a way to make Christmas a bit brighter for our residents – especially those who aren’t likely to have family visiting during the holiday. There’s something special about receiving a Christmas Gift that someone has taken the time to pick out and wrap especially for you. And just knowing that someone in their community cared enough to do that – will mean a lot to our residents.”
Anyone wanting to take part and purchase a gift for a Long-Term Care resident can come to the Acute Care area at the Kipling Integrated Health Centre and take an ornament from the tree anytime – either between the hours of 8 am – 4:30 pm or after hours (as nurses will be happy to help visitors with this).
Individuals are also asked to bring their wrapped gift and ornament back to the hospital by December 20th.

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