Mom is in a skilled care nursing home. Should we tip the staff at Christmas?

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If so is food (such as a fruit basket or cookies) preferable to money? If money how much and to whom?

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Most healthcare facilities prohibit individual gifts of any type. So a food gift for the whole staff is always a great idea!
If you do give a food gift, I would suggest it be a commercially made product and the reason is this. Staff are often hesitant to eat homemade gifts. One food gift that was always a big hit with our ER crew was popcorn. Each shift received a big tin that had cheddar, carmel corn, and regular popcorn in it. It didn't have to be refrigerated(that's important) and it was quick, staff could just rush in and grab a cupful. Be sure you get a high quality product as some of the cheap ones aren't very good.
Whatever you decide to do, don't forget the night shift. It always seemed like if a food gift was given, by the time night shift came on all that was left were crumbs. Or, it was an item that needed refrigerated and it had been left out all day.
I guarantee you your gift will be enjoyed and your thoughtfulness appreciated!
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I've sent baskets of "edible arrangements" to various ppl and they love them ... and they can sit out on a counter all day too.
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Speaking as a HCP we get tons of sweets,, and I can tell you a fruit basket is always a hit... less guilt when you are already overeating around the holidays.. or if you have some cash.. a meat and cheese platter!
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I think anything edible would be greatly appreciated from a big box of donuts to fruit and nuts. Thank way it can sit on the desk at the nurses station and everyone will help themselves. If there is just one person you wish to recognize a nice plant would be appropriate.
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I always want to do something, but it is difficult. What I have been doing, is sending the staff that I work with the most homemade fudge with a nice card. They seem thrilled, but, I fee like the other staff members should be remembered too. I don't think cash is a good idea.

This year, I'm thinking about doing something a little different. Maybe, sending some food for the day shift and then for the night shift. It's difficult to figure it out. This facility is located in a rural community and there aren't many delivery places, so, I'll have to take it myself.
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Find out when their staff holiday party is. I have sent edible arrangements on a number of occasions to let staff know they are appreciated.
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I agree with helpmom. A cash gift is very generous but where do you draw the line?

Food is always appreciated. A big basket of muffins with a lovely thank you card is enough.
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Many facilities have policies against tipping and it makes sense. There are many people involved in taking care of our family members and in tipping we might unintentionally overlook someone. Most facilities do allow group gifts such as you suggested.
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