We might not love our trips to the hospital, but it’s vital that we provide care and support for a loved one in the middle of a hospital stay. A short, meaningful, visit can provide the boost that a family member needs to restore themselves to full health as they work with their medical team.
We’ve compiled 10 helpful tips to make sure you and your loved one make the most of your next visit to the hospital.
1. Ask first
Staying in a hospital can be a trying, tiring experience, and sometimes what a family member really needs is rest, relaxation, and some alone time. Ask your loved one honestly if they’d like you to visit or not, and don’t take it personally if they decline. Simply let them know that you’d love to visit whenever they feel up for it.
2. Follow the rules
If you’re ready to visit, remember that facilities have different hospital visitation rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions are determined by state governments and by each individual hospital. Many require that you’re fully vaccinated and that you wear a mask to minimize the spread of COVID.
Definitely practice social distancing and wash or sanitize your hands before, during, and after your visit. You might also want to schedule a COVID-19 test before your visit to ensure your loved one’s safety. Also, check if their hospital has a special policy on child visitors, as some do. Following the rules is the first step to keeping your loved one safe and their medical team happy
3. Prepare to wait
Check the hospital visiting hours before you schedule your strip. If you arrive at the beginning of visiting hours along with a large number of visitors, this process could take some time, so bring a book or magazine to pass the time.
4. Be understanding
All across the country, staff shortages are putting a strain on hospitals. Most physicians already worked between 40-60 hours per week, and now they’re putting in more hours than ever before caring for COVID patients.
While your loved one’s medical staff might be hard to get a hold of, remember to put yourself in their shoes. They likely have far more on their plate than they would like. Showing your appreciation could be as simple as saying “please,” or “thank you.” A little recognition and empathy go a long way.
5. Be thoughtful with your gifts
While flowers are often the go-to gift when visiting a patient in the hospital, more nurses are recommending that you keep these out of hospital rooms. The pollen and petals can activate allergies which can complicate matters for those that are immuno-compromised.
Even if your loved one would really appreciate a sunflower, their roommate may not be so grateful — the same goes for perfume or cologne.
Instead, go for gifts like:
- Crayons and coloring books
- Board games and puzzles
- Crochet kit
- Cozy new pair of socks
6. Set up family calls and letters.
If another loved one is unable to visit right now, check-in with them to see if they’d be able to set up a video call or even compose a hand-written letter. Staying in the hospital is often an isolating experience, and your family member will appreciate hearing from others.
Depending on their personality and how they feel, they might also be tired and feel a little overwhelmed by in-person visitors, so setting up other avenues to connect could be just the pick-me-up they need.
One of your biggest jobs during this period is to serve as an advocate for your loved one. You’re an integral part of your family member’s care team, so check in with them during every visit and see if there’s anything you can do to increase their comfort levels, within reason.
If your loved one is unable, take notes as the physician suggests treatment options and other ways to maximize patient care. Remember, medical records are only the business of your loved one and their doctor.
Here is an apt time to plug the golden rule — treat your loved one as you’d like to be treated. Depending on your family member, that might mean respecting boundaries and not overstepping your bounds.
8. Eat safe, eat well
There are few more bonding experiences than sharing a delicious meal, and hospitals aren’t exactly known for their world-class eats. However, your loved one might be on a specific diet designed by their doctor. Check with medical staff and find out if you’re able to bring in a healthy, home-cooked meal or a convenient, scrumptious EATBar.
9. Lend a hand where you can
Not everyone is able to make frequent visits to the hospital right now, especially if you’re an immuno-compromised person yourself. You might be able to help more by putting together home-cooked meals, doing grocery shopping, and helping keep your family member’s house in order.
A clean house and a well-walked, well-fed dog can go a long way to making sure someone’s return from the hospital goes as smoothly as possible.
10. Take care of yourself
Few realize how draining it can be to constantly care and advocate for a loved one. One of the most important things you can do for your family member is to take care of yourself. Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising every couple of days.
It’s easy to recognize that someone needs rest and recuperation when they’re inside the hospital, but a little harder to notice when someone’s constantly running errands and balancing a job and home life. Closely monitor your own energy levels and feelings and set healthy limits on what can be expected of you. Of course, stay home if you’re feeling sick in the slightest.
Here’s to Hospitals
Though we might not cherish our times in hospitals, these facilities are vital components of living a healthy, active life. Hospitals are filled with nurses and physicians that care about restoring us to full health and leading the best life possible.
However, hospitals are only designed to cater to the needs of hospital patients, and sometimes we can forget that caregivers need care too.
Remind yourself to rest, recuperate, and take time for yourself. Cook yourself up a delicious, home-cooked meal or chow down on a scrumptious EATBar layered with rich, meringue flavor.
As an extra treat, use our discount code BLOG15 at checkout to earn 15% off your order.