Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Hospital visits: a physician's advice

Here are some tips from a local physician about visiting people in the hospital.

1. Be prepared for anything when you walk into that room. The person you thought was having a routine procedure may have just found out they have cancer.

2. Don't sit on the bed!

3. Tell them who you are. (They're sick, tired, drugged, and can't find their glasses -- so even if they've known you for years, they still may not recognize you.)

4. Keep ICU visits short -- three minutes, tops.

5. Knowing which stage of grief the patient is going through may help you -- but telling the patient which stage they're going through will not help them.

6. There's no such thing as minor surgery or a minor illness when it's happening to you.

7. Dysfunctional families do not suddenly become functional just because somebody is sick.

8. If they want to talk, shut up and listen.

9. Older patients often feel it is important to be a gracious host -- so much so they'll try to make you feel welcome, even in a hospital room. But even though they're treating you as an honored guest, they're still sick, tired, and in pain . . . so don't outlast your welcome.

10. A good question to ask (especially if you don't know the patient very well): "To whom do you go for help with things like this?" (This often leads to a discussion of their religious faith.)


Nick said...

There was an article in the September 2006 issues of Ministry Magazine about hospital visits. Good practical advice, just as this is.

Ansku said...

Great advice. Thank you and the physician!