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While it’s widely regarded by many as the happiest time of the year, filled with family and friends, gatherings and celebrations, the holidays can also be one of the most treacherous times of the year.  A number of ‘end-of-the-year’ occasions make up the holidays, but generally speaking, we’re talking about all holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. That awesome time at the end of each year when we unwind, relax … and visit the local ER. Healthcare and the holidays are an unfortunate pairing that inevitably revisits us each year.

Holiday Accidents & Illnesses

According to a Business Insider article from November 2017, “more than 36,000 people visited US emergency rooms on Thanksgiving day 2016” and “doctors in New York City estimate that their ER visits spike 5-12% during the holidays”, with some estimates higher at 10-12%.

The National Safety Council lists food poisoning, cooking fires, decorating injuries such as falling from ladders or getting stabbed with a metal hook, and drunk driving as some of the most prevalent holiday mishaps that land people in the emergency room during the holidays. While we love the decorations and gatherings of the holidays, taking appropriate precautions can have a huge impact on a safe celebration.

Tips for a safe holiday season

  • Know your guest list and prepare food accordingly, or prepare options if guests have food allergies
  • Keep medal hooks and breakable ornaments away from children
  • Make sure any fires or candles are placed in well-ventilated areas and fireplaces are properly enclosed
  • Make sure turkey fryers are away from structures and have the appropriate grease levels
  • Have a designated driver – ALWAYS

Visiting During the Holidays

But not all visits to the Hospital during the holidays are due to new injury or illness.  Fact is, some hospital visitors during the holidays are there to see friends or loved ones.  In these instances, it’s important to bring as much cheer as possible to those in the facility.

Flowers, festive bedding, and favorite foods are always good choices to lift the spirits of hospital patients.  If you find yourself visiting the hospital during the holidays, stay as positive as possible, depending on your circumstances.  Everyone’s goal is to get better and get home as quickly as possible.

Healthcare Doesn’t stop for the Holidays

It’s also good to remember that clinicians sacrifice so much of their time, and time with their loved ones during the holidays, to care for our loved ones. Those same doctors, nurses, clerical, and administrative staff that work so hard during the spring and summer months are still there managing healthcare and the holidays.  Their dedication to providing the best possible patient care is what makes our healthcare system the best in the world.  Bring some cheer to them as well.  They’ve earned it.

From all of us at Optimum Healthcare IT, have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season. Hopefully, you can avoid healthcare and the holidays.

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