Another Holiday Season

Updated:   Published

  • Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 11 years experience.

Are deaths usually high this time of year?

This time last year we were entering what became the saddest and most challenging eight weeks or so in my work career for sure, and maybe my life. We lost SO many people to COVID. And in so many ways it seemed unnecessary, whether you believe vaccines help or not, we had seemed to turn a corner in the last Summer/early fall and then from the weekend after Thanksgiving until the last week of January it was just hellish. And they were angry. The patients, the families, the staff, just everyone.

Things have calmed down from a COVID perspective greatly in my area since the first week of February. Some days it seems like it was more than 10 months ago, and sometimes it feels like it was yesterday. The deaths attributed to COVID are exceeding rare these days and even those that aren't vaccinated seem to be pulling through. (Maybe not totally unscathed, but okay.)

But now in the past couple weeks we're seeing an upswing in deaths again. Not predictable or expected deaths and not good deaths. Cardiac arrests, overdoses, younger people than we should have in ICUs and I'm wondering whether it was always this way and I didn't place the pattern until COVID, or is it a coincidence? Maybe it started a little earlier this year than I remember last year. But the faces of the people facing unexpected loss in the traditional time of joy and gratitude is just so sad. Again. Anyone else seeing a similar situation in the workplace? 

Wishing all of you a happy and healthy holiday season. And may we all comfort those in our care, and their loved ones, when faced with challenging times. 

nursej22, MSN, RN

2,981 Posts

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 38 years experience.

I’ve associated this time of year with death since I entered nursing. The nursing home I started in always had more deaths, albeit, most were expected, in January. When I went to acute care I was on med/surg, and saw more pneumonia and liver failure in the Winter. Patients would quit dialysis right after Christmas. My parents passed away in the Winter. When I worked cardiac, I saw more MIs and acute heart failure around the holidays. 
I think I get SAD in the Winter.  I really hate December. 

JBMmom, MSN, NP

4 Articles; 2,359 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 11 years experience.
12 hours ago, nursej22 said:

I think I get SAD in the Winter.  I really hate December. 

Wishing you a peaceful December, I'm sorry for your losses. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I have always thought of mid-Winter (January and February) as a time of expected loss, it must be especially hard for those dealing with loss when so many are focused on a season of joy. 

nursej22, MSN, RN

2,981 Posts

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 38 years experience.

Thank you, @JBMom. 

Par1, LPN

5 Posts

Specializes in General, LTC, Nephrology. Has 44 years experience.

I've been in dialysis nursing for 37 years and we always see more transplants this time of year.  My roommate got a Kidney Pancreas transplant on December 30th.  I hate the thought that all these people are giving up a loved one and it is very sad, but so giving to allow organs to be harvested.  I always pray our patients do well, but pray for the families that lost a loved one as well.