Tips we learned on how to visit well.

As promised in my last blog post, Here are a few lessons Dottie and I learned about visiting a patient. 1) Visitors make a huge difference in helping the person and those who are caring for them not feel like they are alone. 2) If the person stays on your mind, take the time to reach out. Don’t think they have so many others coming by they did need you to come. Case in point, I visited someone today and I was the 1st person who had come. If you are unsure, check in with someone close to the patient to see if they are up for visitors. A particular day might not be good but they can tell you a date and time that works. A side note-having someone as your gatekeeper really helps. That way you don’t have folks coming by when you are tired or just needing a break. Most patients are encouraged by visitors but get worn out because they oomph themselves up when others stop by. Creating signs to put on the door is a great idea. Signs like; “Michael is sleeping, please come by later” “Michael is at PT/OT having tests, please try and come by another time.” “2-4 is rest time, please come by after 4”. Have a note pad on the door so folks can you let you know they tried to visit. 3) When you visit, look at your watch and only stay 10-15 minutes. Keep it short and make it about the person who you are comforting and the people there to care for them. Think of the word LAP. Listen, Ask questions, Pray Do not be one of those people who talks about what happened to you or over stays your welcome. Ask, “would it be OK if I stopped by again in a couple of days?” “When is the best time to visit?” I had a few folks that wanted to know when my PT was so they could come cheer me on. Another side note-If you have procedures out of your room, make sure you have someone set up to accompany you to other parts of the hospital. It meant so much to me to have someone there especially during the times I couldn’t move. There were times that whatever they did got finished and then I would wait alone for as much as a half an hour. I always wanted someone there waiting with me. 4) Don’t feel like you need to take a gift but if you are so inclined, here are some things people did for us that were pretty cool.

  • Get to the hospital a bit early and buy a gift card to the cafeteria/coffee area. Give it to the patient so that family members who are staying with them don’t have to pay when they need something to eat or drink
  • If you know several folks who know the patient, take up a collection and buy a GrubHub card. That way, they can order food from outside the hospital.
  • Buy bagels and coffee for the hospital staff who are taking care of the person.
  • Buy a bunch of snacks that can be left in the hospital room. This is great for those who are staying at the hospital and again for those who are caring for the patient. See previous blog post “it only takes a cookie” 🙂

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