When friends go into hospital, we want to be as supportive as we can. This includes visiting them if possible. How can we do this in a way that helps our friends?
- Stay a short time rather than a long one. Twenty minutes is usually pretty good. Family tend to stay longer and that’s okay.
- If the hospital has visiting hours, stick to them. They are there for a reason – often this is to ensure both your friend and their possible hospital room mate have quiet time and can recover.
- Take some earplugs and an eye-mask with you. Your friend may have forgotten these and as hospitals can be noisy places, these may be welcomed and very helpful to your friend in getting a good sleep.
- If you take flowers, take a small bunch – a posy is good, plus a jar for water or a small cheap vase. Op shops are pretty good at providing these. Having a jar for water saves nurses having to search for one. Small bunches of flowers don’t dominate the room, take up space on the window ledge or block the view if there is one. If it is not possible to visit your friend in person, you can order flowers to be delivered from a florist. Make sure you order a small bouquet that includes a vase or other water container. Plants are nice especially orchids but be prepared for them being more expensive than a posy.
- Most patients don’t have much of an appetite while they are healing or recuperating. One or two homemade slices or pieces of cake on a pretty plate or in a small container is often welcome as opposed to lots of fruit or boxes of chocolate which other people will probably supply. Good bakeries and certain delicatessens often sell quality slices and cakes.
- If a doctor or nurse comes to visit while you’re visiting, ask your friend if they would like you to stay or leave. They may want some privacy but they may be happy for you to stay.
- A new magazine which offers light reading is good. Concentrating on heavy reading material is usually just too taxing in hospital.
- Ask them if there is anything they want – a fresh jug of water, moisturiser, a fresh tooth brush. Something small like this can make a big difference.
- Lastly take a warm smile. Nothing is more uplifting to a hospital patient than that.