Whether it’s to comfort somebody very sick or to celebrate the birth of a newborn child, hospital visits are a part of everyday life. I recently came across a survey carried out by Slater and Gordon which outlined a few interesting facts about visiting a loved one in the hospital. It got me thinking about my feelings about visiting friends or family when they’re in the hospital and gave me some useful pointers which I thought I’d share with you.
(Although I hope you don’t have to use them anytime soon!)
What gifts should you take?
When you think of hospital gifts, you often presume that a big bunch of get well grapes or flowers would be the perfect present. However, there are now a fair few restrictions surrounding fresh flowers and various food & drink items that you need to be aware of. Some wards even ban visitors from bringing flowers or some types of food so just be sure to check with the hospital you’re going to be visiting first.
Some great gift ideas that are permitted that I might take to a loved one staying in hospital would be: magazines or a puzzle book to kill boredom, a framed photo to make them feel more at home, ear plugs and/or an eye mask to help with sleeping in a noisy environment, or even some nice toiletries to save them having to worry about buying them themselves.
How long should you stay?
When you’ve got a friend, family member or loved one in hospital, all you want to do is stay by their side to offer support and make them feel better. Most friends and relatives would love it if you could too but there are often specific visiting hours that you need to stick to. These set visiting times usually vary from hospital to hospital and ward to ward so make sure you check with a member of staff before you set off.
Once you are at the bedside, it can be tricky to know how long to stay – you don’t want to disappear too quickly and leave your loved one disappointed but you also don’t want to overstay your welcome. I think how long you choose to stay is largely dictated by how the patient feels. If they need plenty of rest and sleep then it might be a good idea to just pop in for half an hour or so, but if they’re on the mend or only in for something minor, you could stay for a while longer to entertain them.
Those all-important hygiene rules
Last but not least, don’t forget to clean your act up! Keeping your hands clean and washing them religiously is always important but it’s especially crucial to kill germs when you’re going to be entering a hospital environment. The same goes for when it’s time to head back home too because you don’t want to be taking any germs back with you. Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag or make use of the sanitising gel dotted around the hospital to reduce the spread of germs.