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'Holidays in the hospital' | How some spend the yuletide season

In-patient director for nursing services Susan Wood said the nursing staff "goes the extra mile" for those at St. Francis.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The holidays can be hard for a lot of families, especially for those who have a loved one in the hospital. 

Theresa Robert is a St. Francis patient who said she can't imagine being in a place like the hospital during the holidays. Robert should be out of St. Francis by Christmas, but the simple truth is that those that find themselves admitted after her "can't hold off their sicknesses until the holidays are over."

"For those who have family, they need to be with their loved one in the hospital because it can be a lonely place when you're here, and you hear all the noises at night and you can't sleep," Robert said. "Just to have somebody familiar to talk to and to help you through the night that's not a stranger..."

In-patient director for nursing services Susan Wood agrees that the holidays "needs to be a time where family comes together" and that families are "here for patients during that time period."

"We have a commitment to be here," Wood said. "We're here for them, so sometimes going a little bit extra — maybe they want an extra orange juice.  Maybe they want a piece of fruit. It's the extra mile — just to give them that extra special touch during a time that's hard for them to be in a hospital."

Robbie Robert is Theresa's husband, who is thankful for the nursing staff at St. Francis.

"I want to thank all the nurses for what they've done up here," he said. "They've been wonderful. They've been outstanding. I am just glad they've taken very good care of her and she can get home by Christmas."

Wood said the staff tries hard to make patients' day better.

"The biggest present you can be is your presence," she said.

As a patient, Theresa Roberts offered this advice for those with loved ones in the hospital:

"Make it a point to stop in and just say 'Hi'; pass out some Christmas cards and bring cheer because it is a lonely place," Roberts said. "Everybody needs family and for those who don't have it, then we need to make one — find one."

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