Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Public Service Announcement

Have a sick friend or relative? Unsure how when and where to visit them? I bring you my Top Ten list of visiting etiquette.

1. Imagine yourself in the ailing person's place.

This is scary, which is why it's seldom done. Most of us don't want to think about this. It means accepting that you could be in the ailing person's place,chronically, acutely or terminally ill.

2. Do not visit if you are sick with a cold, fever or contagious illness.

They're sick enough already.

3. If there's a sign on a door that says to check at the nurse's station before entering a room - do it.

And do not think they are quietly sitting inside the room not answering the door, like some do at home. *cough*

4. Do not question the person about their health status in great detail.

If they claim they've had a myocardial infarction, then chances are they're ready to discuss. If they say they've had chest pains, then leave well enough alone.

5. And for Pete's Sake, don't quiz them on expected release date.

If they know they'll tell you. People in the hospital with no idea are often depressed and would rather visit a friend then worry about going home, at that very moment. And they may be like a Windows release...they made it out the door on time but many issues and fixes are in order.

6. Do not go into someone's hospital room while they are asleep and park yourself at the foot of their bed until they wake.

Actually, I think again that this is something, if you are very close to the person who is ill, you should just ask directly about -- is this ok? or not? To see a loved one at the end of the bed can be reassuring.

7. Do not visit someone that you would not visit normally.

If they weren't good enough for it before, why are they good enough for it now? Go visit with a few people the person knows so it doesn't make the person uncomfortable.

8. Do not start discussing work or business.

Again, I think this is something to ask about. If someone is tired, recuperating, and needs to avoid stress, this is a good idea.

9. If a person tells you that they are tired, or ready to go to sleep - leave or hang up the phone.

Don't take this personally.

10. If a person is obviously tired, even if they're not saying it - leave.

Especially if you have reason to suspect that they won't say so.

Here is the other Service Announcement in Surviving a Crisis Situation.


Army Wife said...

I would like to offer 2 more things.

Do not bring food into a patients room. I have witnessed this often.

Also no perfume!!


cmk said...

And please, please, please, don't have more than a couple of people visiting at a time--even if you all are VERY close to the patient!!!!! My family FLOODED my father's hospital room after his heart attack! The Brother and his family were so loud that the nurse had to come in and ask them to quiet down! Just another example of how jerky a family I have.

I DO have to take exception to the 'don't visit if you don't visit the person normally.' I live in a city that has the regional medical center for our extended area, so we get people here from hundreds of miles away. I would take it upon myself to visit people I didn't really know from 'back home' just so they could have someone there more often. :) Not many people would be in this position, though.

Ordinary Janet said...

When I had my appendix out, I spent the two days I was there sleeping, and I woke up long enough to see my mom and sister come in the room, but I didn't stay awake long enough to talk to them much. They were nice enough not to hang around. I can't imagine anything worse than having to try to be sociable for visitors. I remember another hospital stay when people I didn't hear from often came to visit, and it was awkward and I wished they'd go away so I could rest. I agree-if I'm not "good enough" to visit when I'm well, don't visit me in the hospital. It makes you wonder if they know something you don't.

Dazd said...

Yes...wonderful ideas to add to the list!

Janet...I thrived on company. It helped pass the time of day.

Ordinary Janet said...

well, if you aren't drugged to the gills and nearly comatose, I guess it helps to have people visit. But I just wanted to sleep.