Spending time in hospital is never an enjoyable experience, and can be one that involves a great deal of stress, anxiety and pain. It can also be lonely, as the patient is removed from their usual daily environment and away from the people they spend time with. A break in daily routine can be hard to handle for some people, and this is one reason why hospital visiting times are a valuable opportunity.
Of course, it pays to be aware of what the needs of the patient are when they are in hospital, as this will be different to their normal daily life, so we have put together a few tips on how to visit loved ones in hospital, and make the most of the time.
The first thing to consider is whether or not the patient is ready to see you. Whether ill or injured, some people prefer to spend time alone while recuperating, and will be happier to receive visitors once they have recovered a little bit. If, for example, they have just had major surgery, they may be spending a lot of time asleep or feeling very weary, and may not be up to interacting with other people. Ask in advance if they want to see you, and don’t be offended if they are not yet up to a visit as the time will come.
Also, make sure you check with the hospital, too; all will have set visiting times, and for a good reason. A hospital is a working environment where doctors and nurses are always doing their job, hence they limit not only the time you can visit, but the numbers that are accepted at any time. Respect these guidelines, and make sure you check in advance.
Consider the patient – and others in the ward – before you decide to make a visit. For example, if you are suffering from a heavy cold, or from any illness that may be easily spread, now is not the time to be visiting people in hospital! The patient will understand, as they also need to be as fit and well as possible to make a good recovery. If you want to visit but feel you can’t for this reason, why not send someone in your place to take your gifts and good wishes, and to see how things are going?
Many hospital patients are people who live alone; there may be simple things such as feeding pets and collecting mail that you can do to help out, so ask if there’s anything you can do when you visit. Also, if they have been injured, you might offer to help them find a personal injury lawyer who can help with a compensation once they are recovered, such as Slater and Gordon Lawyers who are experienced in all kinds of personal injury claims. Give the patient the opportunity to cover such as this when they feel up to it, and offer all the help you can.
Your loved one may receive many visitors, and most will naturally take gifts, so rather than bringing them the usual bunch of flowers, why not check ahead if there is anything they would like you to take in for them? They will spend a lot of time doing nothing, so you may wish to take them books, magazines, crossword puzzles and the like, or perhaps they need extra clothing, or slippers and other items? Ask if there is anything specific they need, and you will be helping them remain as comfortable as possible during their stay.
Don’t Overdo It
The patient will undoubtedly welcome your visit – you have, after all, made sure they want you to go as mentioned above – but don’t stay too long. Visiting time is limited anyway and they may have other visitors who want their time with them, so consider the needs of others and don’t take up the whole visiting period. Always respect the needs and requests of the patient, as they may find it tiring to spend too much time with anyone while recuperating.
Visiting a loved one in hospital is about giving them the time they need, and letting them know that you care and want to help them all you can. It’s also about respecting their wishes, so make sure you put the patient first. Also, as we have said, you need to keep out of the way of the staff dong their job and, should they need to attend to your patient while you are present, give them the privacy they need to do their job.
It always helps to visit someone who may be feeling down and lonely – so do your bit, and make them feel loved and cared for.