Visiting someone in the hospital is one of the most emotional experiences that anyone can get through. Whether it is a happy occasion like seeing a new mother or sorrowful one like visiting an ailing grandparent, hospital visits have etiquette just like any other activity you do in your life. Knowing hospital etiquette could make the difference between a smooth recuperation and a difficult, prolonged stay for loved ones. Here are 5 rules you should memorize before your next hospital visit.
1. Go When You’re In a Good Health: Most patients have a weakened immune system, therefore they cannot fight off bacteria effectively. So never go to the hospital if you have a cough, cold, flu, or fever. Also, don’t go to the hospital if you think you might be getting sick because colds are most contagious immediately before and right after getting sick.
2. Don’t Eat from Patient’s Food Tray: Sometimes, the patient doesn’t finish his meal, so you eat it to save it from being thrown away. But this is a mistake because this could mislead the staff who is trying to monitor the patient’s input versus their bowel/bathroom output. By finish your loved one’s meal, the doctor may assume that he is getting proper nutrition when he is not.
3. Don’t Overstay your Welcome: No doubt that it is important for hospitalized loved one to have your support and feel your love. But staying for many hours cannot serve that purpose. Patients need to have rest as it is crucial to their recovery. So don’t prolong your stay unless your loved one asks you to stick around for a while longer.
4. Wash Your Hands: Hand-washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of illness. You never know what you’ve been exposed to, especially as most illnesses are contagious before symptoms develop. Wash your hands before entering the hospital room, and again after touching your face or nose. It costs you nothing and can preserve your loved one’s health.
5. Take Something Useful: Hospital stays can feel long and boring, so consider taking something to make your loved one’s day a little better. A favorite book, a portable DVD player, and a few movies, an adult coloring book or a magazine can make time in the hospital less dull. Remember also that lots of people check into the hospital with little warning, forgetting items like a change of clothes and a phone charger. Ask if there are any practical things you can bring along.