Thanksgiving at my house just took a U-turn last night when my mom fell down my backdoor stairs. A trip by EMS to the ER has resulted in a scheduled surgery and a stay in the hospital on Thanksgiving Day. In honor of my mom, here are a few hospital etiquette tips. I hope her friends are reading!
Rules of behavior while visiting a friend or family member in the hospital:
1. Stay focused on your friend’s illness. Don’t try and one-up him or her with war stories of your own. “You just broke your foot; I broke my whole leg once when…”
2. No scare tactics. Don’t talk about your aunt who went in the hospital for a one day routine procedure and ended up staying in the hospital for 6 weeks because of some medical foul up.
3. If you visit a friend in the hospital, don’t:
- Overuse the perfume
- Bring food to a patient on a special diet
- Fail to move when it is time for your friend’s bed bath
- Overstay your welcome
- Eat your friend’s dinner
- Bring small children (other than immediate family)
- Assume your family or friend wants visitors
4. Do remember to check whether your friend or family member is on a restricted diet.
5. Give them some privacy – When the curtain closes, excuse yourself so the patient can have a sponge bath or use a bed pan in privacy.
Q & A:
What do I do when my friend acts like her sprained wrist is similar to getting run over by a train?
Respond by saying, “I guess it must feel that way” and either change the subject or offer to get your friend a glass of water.
How can I check on a sick friend or family member without becoming a pest?
Make sure to call first before coming for a visit. Don’t drop off a plate of brownies if the patient is bed-bound. Use good judgment and common sense and make sure and when all else fails, ask your friend “What can I do or help you with?”
What are good hospital gifts besides flowers?
Depending on the nature of the illness, if he/she can sit up and move around:
- Her/his favorite snack
- House slippers
- Antibacterial hand cream with a nice light scent
- Noise cancelling ear plugs for the iPad to watch their favorite movie
- Warm socks
- Magazines or a great inspirational book
I love you, Mom! Happy Thanksgiving.