How to Be a Good Hospital Visitor

Hospital Stays

Tammy George

Most people staying in hospital want to see some friendly, familiar faces. The days and hours can drag on when you are in a hospital, even for a short stay. Looking at the same four walls can make some people feel depressed, so having people visit can brighten their day.  But how do you make sure you are the best possible visitor?   

1.    Check it’s Convenient

Before you head to the hospital, give the patient a call or check with a close family member that they are up to visitors. Sometimes a patient may be too tired or are away from their room. Know the visiting hours and don’t go in outside these times as they may be resting or not prepared for visitors.  

2.    Flowers

Not everyone appreciates flowers, particularly if they are strong smelling. Ask your florist to recommend low allergen or non-perfumed flowers. Before buying a bunch of flowers either take them in a large jar, inexpensive vase or buy flowers in a box as not all hospitals supply vases.  

3.    Snacks

Snacks are an appreciated gift by many hospital patients. Even if the patient doesn’t feel like eating them, they can offer them to other visitors. Take in something that is individually wrapped like chocolates.

4.    Something to Do

A hospital stay can be boring so think about taking in something for the patient to do. A large jigsaw puzzle is probably not going to be suitable until they go home but there are plenty of travel size games or puzzles in books you can choose.

5.    Reading Material

Take in a novel or magazine for something easy your patient can pick up and put down to fill in the hours. It may be hard for them to concentrate while they recover so some easy reading material may be appreciated.

6.    Offer to Help

Some people can be anxious about going home especially if they have a house to maintain and meals to prepare. Offer to help with cleaning or meals for the freezer so they can concentrate on their recovery rather than jobs they may struggle to do with limited mobility.

7.    Driver

Offer to do the driving. Knowing that someone will pick up a few items at the shops, take them to appointments or just out for a coffee can also help patients overcome any concerns about being isolated at home.    

If small talk doesn’t come easy, do a little preparation before you visit someone in a hospital. Think of a few topics you can chat about or questions you can ask. Stuck for things to talk about? Take in a crossword or something you can do together to fill in some of their long days.

Tammy George

Please note: Tammy's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic please consult your healthcare professional.

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