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Medical and health issues come with a myriad of concerns, issues and stressful events that can be upsetting and sometimes even devastating. Having a team of healthcare workers as well as a supportive family and community can make the difference between just surviving and learning how to thrive even with difficulties. 

National Grateful Patient Day was founded as a way for patients to show appreciation, share encouraging stories and advocate for better experiences when receiving medical care.

History of National Grateful Patient Day

National Grateful Patient Day was founded in 2017 as an idea of NFL player Rolf Benirschke which was part of a larger vision for the Grateful Patient Project. After experiencing years of medical challenges that interrupted his NFL career, Rolf wanted to spend his life giving back to the world as an expression of gratitude for those who supported him along the way.

The purpose behind the day was to create a large community of patients who are passionate about expressing their gratitude to their caregivers, medical teams and larger support network. The Grateful Patient Project website indicates that its mission is to “find the good and promote it”. 

In addition to saying ‘thank you’, the desire is for National Grateful Patient Day to be a venue through which the voices of thousands of patients can be heard, working together to advocate for patient rights in the medical care system. Plus, the hope is that patients will continue sharing their own stories, offering encouragement to one another both locally and around the globe.

How to Celebrate National Grateful Patient Day

Anyone can get on board with National Grateful Patient Day, implementing some of these ideas to get started with:

Thank a Healthcare Worker

Whether it’s one who is currently caring for you or has done so in the past, National Grateful Patient Day is the perfect time to say thanks to a doctor, nurse practitioner, nurse, aide, or other medical professional who has gone above and beyond to care for you or a family member. Sure, it’s their job but, for some, it’s also their calling and they could probably use a bit of encouragement! Send them an email, a card or some other expression of heartfelt appreciation in celebration of this day.

Found a Grateful Patient Program

Hospitals, medical offices, administrators and others in the profession can collaborate to create a Grateful Patient program in honor of National Grateful Patient Day. These programs facilitate donations from former patients who have had positive experiences, along with their families and their communities, that help to lower the cost of healthcare for future patients – often those who have similar medical issues.

This is an excellent way to secure funding to better meet the needs of patients who have financial restrictions. Grateful Patient programs can be funded through immediate donations as well as through legacy donations given in the future through wills or trusts.

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