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.