Your family or friend is in the hospital. That’s never fun. A lot of people can’t stand to see loved ones in such a place, so they don’t go see them. But, they probably do want to see you. So, here’s how to make a sick friend or family member feel better during their stay.
Never Show Up Unannounced
First thing: never show up unannounced. There are many reasons for this. Being courteous starts before you even show up, though. The person may be sleeping, might not be feeling well enough for visitors, or might be in the middle of a medical procedure.
It’s hard to imagine a person not wanting to see you, especially your family. But when someone is sick, they may not be feeling very well or may not want others to see them in that state. Even if it’s a friend you’ve known for many years, being in a hospital can be demoralizing and some people even find certain aspects of it embarrassing.
Call at least day in advance. When you call, ask when a good time to visit would be. Don’t force the issue. If the person doesn’t seem very interested in talking or in having you visit, back off. Try again the next day.
Make sure you discuss how long you’ll be there, and the time you’ll arrive. It’s important to keep it short and to-the-point. Remember, the person is in the hospital. They’re there for a reason. They don’t feel well. So, don’t try to create conflict, complication, or drag things out for them on the phone.
Call again right before you leave to make sure the person is still up for a visit and to let them know you’re on your way.
Don’t Wear Perfume
People’s noses might be more sensitive than usual in the hospital. And, if they’re not feeling well, the perfume may be overpowering. Even if you don’t think it is, it might be. Many hospitals use air purification systems to try to clean the air. But, even when this isn’t the case, the patient needs to have clean air. This is especially true if they’re on a breathing machine.
Bring A Gift
Bringing a gift with you is just good form. Gifts say “I’ve been thinking about you” without you having to say anything. If you’re stuck for ideas, get this from ZoeysPersonalizedGifts.com. A personalized gift is one way to let the person know you value them. And, it’s something they’ll remember long after they’ve gotten well.
People tend not to throw away personalized gifts. It might seem a little corny, but a personalized t-shirt might make them laugh and lift their spirits.
Wash Your Hands
There are so many germs in a hospital, you could make your friend or loved one sick just with a simple touch. And, because the patient’s immune system is probably compromised, the risk is even greater. Most people don’t realize it, but hospitals are a breeding ground for bacteria.
It’s not uncommon for people to get more sick from the hospital stay than from whatever they came in for. Sometimes, these secondary infections are resistant to antibiotics, too. So, it’s not just a courtesy thing. Washing your hands could save their life. Not doing it might seriously endanger them.
For example, C.diff is a very serious infection many people get in hospitals because their immune system is compromised and the bacteria is very common. Non-hygienic contact is one of the major ways patients get the infection.
Acknowledge The Medical Staff
When the medical staff come into the room, stand up, acknowledge them, and pardon yourself. It’s polite to leave the room when they enter, and let them know you’ll be outside. If they need to do a medical procedure, they’ll probably tell you anyway, but it’s best to initiate the interaction and leave before they tell you have to.
When you do this, you show respect for your friend or family member, the doctor or nurse, and the medical facility.
They have busy jobs, and they do appreciate it when visitors do this. And, your friend will probably appreciate it too.
It’s tough seeing your friend or family member suffer in a hospital. No one likes it. At the same time, bringing them a gift, and treating them nice when they’re in there will help boost their morale. Remember, they’re your friend (or family) for a reason. They love you, and you love them.
Lucy Gibson is a kind and caring soul always ready to help out those in need. More recently she has been a rock for her Mother-in-Law who has been in hospital. Lucy wants to offer helpful advice to others who are in similar situations and does this through her writing.
11 thoughts on “Loving Comforts: Tending to a Sick Friend or Family Member in the Hospital”
Thankfully I’ve had limited experience with family members in the hospital. My dad was in the ICU for a week and it felt like forever! I can only imagine how hard it was for him.
I’ve not had any experience with this yet, and I am so thankful. These are great tips and a great post.
Washing your hands is so important when visiting or caring for someone in the hospital. I had to remind everyone of that when they visited me after I gave birth.
These are great recommendations. I have a 13-year-old niece who is on her third bout of Leukemia. She lives about an hour away but sometimes gets admitted to the hospital here in the city. I never go up there without checking first, and I always try to take her crafting stuff and her favorite snacks to help keep her occupied and try to brighten her spirits.
This is all great advice!! Sometimes it can be overwhelming when someone is in the hospital to remember the basic things for them while they are in the hospital.
You mentioned some great things. What I think is that people should understand a patient psychology. A patient or his or her family do not need financial support, they require emotional support. Standing by them for a few minute and supporting them is what they need. Most of the us usually say “we don’t have time for such thing or I cannot see my friend or relative like this; that is why I am not going”. These statements are also lethargic. Well, I should not include another tangent in this post. All the points you have written are so crucial and extremely important. Great recommendations.
Such a good advice! It’s really important to have your own hygiene especially whn you’re in or working at hospitals.
These are very good tips for folks to keep in mind when they are planning a hospital visit, One more thing I’ll add is to stay way if you have a cold or are feeling unwell.
Great post! I never thought about not wearing perfume – good point there especially!
I never thought about the perfume part of it, but I always wash hands and try to bring something to cheer people up!
I love these tips! I always hated it when guests showed up unannounced in the hospital after I had a baby.