I have signed up for the Emily Post Newsletter thanks to Ashley Brooke. The newsletter is doing a series entitled, "Hospital Hospitality Series." This one made me go "Thank You!!" As a patient hospitilized several times, as a caretaker several times, and having several friends who are currently going in and out of the hospital for cancer treatments, this was so on.
Straight from the newsletter:
Planning a Visit
Being in the hospital can be hard for patients, and they often look forward to visits from family and friends. When preparing to drop in on a patient, keep these tips in mind:
• Be sure to call ahead to a family member or the hospital patient information line to find out if the patient is allowed visitors
• Check with the patient ahead of time to make sure he or she is up for seeing you
• Plan to keep your visit brief and uplifting; take cues from the patient so you don't overstay your welcome
• It may be nice to bring along a touch of home that the patient may be missing while in the hospital (a favorite pillow or pillowcase, for example)
• Avoid wearing perfumes or other strong scents on the day of your visit, as smells may seem stronger or nauseating to people who are ill
On this first part let me add some of my personal bits of advice.
1. Don't just call to see if a patient is allowed visitors, also ask if they are allowed flowers or fruit baskets, or other gifts. The reason I specifically mention flowers or fruit baskets, MOST ICU patients can't receive any of the above. And cancer patients can develop a condition called "neutropenia" in which they can't have flowers or fruit baskets. It can totally hamper the recovery and even make it worse because it makes the weakened immune system that much more weaker and harder to fight any infections.
2. Definitely check with the patient to see if they are up to visitors. Many will feel great one day and "the worst" the next day. Or if they have had to move around or have a lot of tests, they may be in more pain. Many medications make you even sleepier and you need all the rest you can get. And as anyone who has been a patient knows, it is very hard to sleep in the hospital. For some strange reason, it is easier to sleep during the day than at night.
3. On the last bit of advice: Definitely avoid strong perfumes or even soaps. If you can go without for your visit, go without. It can be very hard on the patient. As said before not only can meds make a patient sleepier, it can also make them more nauseaus. I have even gone so far as to ask a charge nurse to change one of my nurses or housekeeping, or food delivery because of strong perfume.
Next topic is a tough one...bringing the children along:
Visiting with Children
Here are some suggestions for bringing children along to see hospital patients:
• First note the rules for visiting minors
• Explain to the child in simple terms, prior to the visit, why the patient is in the hospital
• Be sure the child is well-behaved and quiet
• Do not allow the child to wander into any area unattended
• Do not force the child to physically interact with the patient, for instance hugging or kissing, unless the child is comfortable with it
My additions: Not only have I been all the things stated above, I have worked at Duke University Medical Center and on inpatient floors as a business manager.
1. Definitely check the rules for visiting minors. I remember the days when if you were under 12 you could not even go in the hospital, then that changed to you couldn't leave the main lobby, then it was the floor lobby, and now it is any age can go almost anywhere. Some units may not allow children at all depending on the patient population. Kids carry more germs than anyone and that is detrimental to a patients recovery. Have you evern heard the phrase,"The best place to get sick is the hospital." Believe it or not, that is very true.
2. The second suggestion above is a good one. But I also have to add, find out what kind of equipment the patient is on. If they are on a ventilator, that may definitely scare a child. Even if it is just oxygen, an IV, and say a heart monitor...seeing all those tubes and wires may upset a child. Yes, you know your child better than I do, but be prepared to cut your visit extra short if they are scared or show any signs of distress. Psychologically, this could make it hard for a child to say when they are sick because they are scared they may be hooked up to those things as well. Be prepared also to explain what everything is.
3. If your child can't sit still and be quiet, do NOT bring them with you to the hospital, even if it is to see a family member. Not only can it be distressing to the patient, it can be distressing to other patients on the unit and the nursing staff caring for "your" patient.
4. Self explanatory.
5. Goes along with number 2 above for the same reasons. One they may be intimidated, but children are also very caring and may very well be afraid they will hurt that patient.
All info above except for what is noted as my additions are directly from the Emily Post newsletter. The next issue will be discussing "During your Visit" and "Respecting Patients." Although I will probably not talk about these items, you can check them out by going to Emily Post online and signing up for the newsletter as well. They also have some wonderful categories of information and a blog as well.
Have a Wonderful Wednesday fellow bloggers, followers,
and readers in general!