Some Saskatoon Health Region employees are showing what the holiday season is all about.

The Palliative Care team within Home Care in Saskatoon Health Region is using the Christmas season to remember the 320 clients they have lost in the past year.

The entire team has decorated the office using the theme “Angels Among Us.”

“It was really one of our nurses, Gail Fitzpatrick, who came up with the idea. She’s our decorator,” said Pat Clark, Palliative Care Coordinator for Home Care services. “It started with us putting up angels, and then went from there. Now we have angels and stars hanging from the ceiling, the doors, the walls – all representing our clients who have died in the past year, to remember those people.”

The Palliative Care team within Home Care in their decorated office.

The Palliative Care team within Home Care in their decorated office.

But it’s not just decorations.

About three years ago, the Palliative Care team in Home Care elected to stop doing a gift exchange among themselves, and instead throw money into a pot to give to those in need. Soon it spread to include other members of the Home Care team who were willing to give a few dollars.

“It’s a very informal gathering of donations,” Clark explained. “We don’t issue receipts.”

The team buys gift cards with the money raised, and some Christmas treats. They usually give them to families they know who have children on palliative care services. This year, a couple of nurses made blankets, hats, mitts and scarves for the families as well, adding a very personal touch to the gifts.

“Our team is usually able to help about three families,” explained Tammy Vornbrock, director of Home Care for Saskatoon Health Region. “But this year, because of the generous donations from the Palliative Care team and the larger Home Care team, they are able to help four families and three single people.”

“Our staff get to know these people,” Clark said in explanation of why they wanted to do this for families. “Our nurses get involved with these young families, and our hearts go out to them. We see how tough it is to have a sick child at Christmas. This is just a way we can give these families a boost for their Christmas.”

“This just shows the team spirit this group has, how they go above and beyond,” said Vornbrock. “They just have a true passion for serving others.”