Visiting a sick friend and family member in a hospital can be tricky. Although the illness isn’t contagious, hospital isn’t the healthiest place in to visit. For this reason, it is natural to feel somewhat hesitant about seeing someone in this place; especially if the person is seriously ill or in pain. Here are things that we should do:
- Phone ahead: Before visiting the person, we should phone ahead to let people know that we are coming. It’s a common sense and this will let us know whether it is prudent to visit the individual at this moment. As an example, the patient may have just undergone a painful treatment and he only needs to get full rest. If we are allowed to come, family members of the sick person will be able to tidy up the room. The patient will be able to dress appropriately and he can become more comfortable. Calling in advance will be helpful and it will make the visitation more enjoyable and meaningful for both sides.
- Learn more about proper visitation in the local hospital: We should check about the proper visiting hour and we could ask the hospital about any kind of restriction. Many hospitals don’t allow us to bring pet and they may also restrict flower and food, because these items could add clutter to the room; making the treatment and recovery process more difficult.
- Limit the duration of visitation: The patient can be weak and he doesn’t have the energy to accept our visitation. Instead of visiting once for a longer period, we may visit only 15 minutes at a time; but more often. We should see indications if the patient looks tired and we need to leave the room courteously. In general, it is better if we can put a few smiles on the patient’s face. Instead of a dragged out visitation, we should choose multiple, short visits. It is important to put patients at ease and staying too long can make things feel more awkward.
- Only bring smaller gifts: Gifts don’t have to be big and expensive. A “get well soon” card that we made ourselves can mean a lot than a huge cake with intricate icing. If the person can sit and read; a magazine or today’s magazine can give the person a sense of connection to the rest of the world. In general, we should make people comfortable and happy. Sleeping and sitting all the time can be tedious for many patients; so we could give them good distractions, such as reading books and crossword puzzle books.
- Have fun: Some patients could improve that they can sit and laugh for more than an hour. In this case, we should be able to take the pressure off by having positive conversations. The focus is about having fun and this can be quite refreshing for many patients. We can talk about recent events or just be creative.