#HospitalHelpingHand - 5 Tips For Being a Hospital Vistor
Sadly at some point of our lives someone we love or even ourselves will end up on a hospital ward. In the UK we are so lucky to have the NHS which means that these short or long hospital visits then don't become even worse by leaving the poor patient in debt. I than my lucky stars for this amazing service every day. Over the last 5 years my Dad's health has dramatically decreased and in waves he has to have long spells in hospital which fortunately get him back on track to a more comfortable lifestyle for his illness. This has meant many a visit to the hospital to see him and make sure he knows he is loved and make sure he is being looked after. Slater and Gordon asked for my tips and I want to share them with you.
Check Visiting Times and Limits
Hospitals are very busy important places with lots of schedules in place for patients including your loved one and there will be a number of treatments they need ti have during certain hours. This is why Hospitals set specific times for families and friends to visit their loved ones. Make sure you know what these times are as different Hospitals and sometimes even wards can vary. Make sure you stick to these times. There will also be a limit set for how many people can be at one bedside. So speak to family and find out who wants to visit and when. I know that not all families get along but try and keep drama away from the Hospital it's the last thing the patient, staff and others need in a time when they need peace and rest. If it isn't always possible to make arrangements with others be respectful and wait. Most wards are allowed 2 to 3 people and there will be two visit slots a day and although it may be hard leaving them be assured they need rest and so do you.
Most of the time when you visit a hospital the person your visiting may be on a ward with several other people. Make sure you are always respectful to other people so don't invade their space or break the visit rules. Equally if your loved one asks you not to visit for a session then respect their right to this privacy. Little things such as using the visiting toilet and not a patients toilet can be a way of making sure privacy is kept. The last few times my father has been admitted to hospital he has been lucky enough to have a room to himself but many a time he has been on a ward and I have ended up bringing things for other people as well as him. Make sure you acknowledge the other people that are present. Be polite and keep your conversations quiet as some may even be sleeping or may not have visitors of their own.
Take The Right Gifts
I remember back in the day hospitals used to sell lucozade all wrapped up like a gift. Everyone seems to go for grapes and flowers when visiting but did you know a lot of hospital wards do not actually allow flowers due to allergy issues. Sometimes the best thing to do is ask your loved one what they want. It may be something as silly as comfy warm sock, an extra blanket or some little snacky items. Remember there is limited space for storing your gifts so keep that in mind. My Dad always asks us to bring entertainment and cordial so he can drink something nice with his water and with his laptop he can watch films and play games to help pass the time. He loves listening to books too on his headphones when his eyes are too tired to read and it helps him forget he is in hospital for a little bit. You can purchase TV and entertainment at the hospital but it is very pricey and when we all in this day have laptops and tablets then you may be able to get away with using wifi and Netflix still load some back up films and music onto a device.
Be Positive and Put Them First
It can be absolutely heartbreaking having a close one lying in a hospital bed almost half the person you know but you have to be strong for them. In times like this they need your strength and positivity to help them through because if you think it's a bad situation for you then just imagine how they must feel. So go in with positive thoughts and words help make them comfortable and don't let the only conversation be about he hospital. I always try and make my dad laugh and tell him about what the the family dog is up to and silly things like that or even ask him what he is having for dinner. Positive attitude will help them through this very lonely time and just knowing they are loved and can get through can help a lot.
The most important of all my tips is to make sure if you get the chance to speak to staff. Ask questions as sometimes the patient may not be able to ask themselves or might not have understood something they were told. It is important if you don't understand jargon to ask for it to be explained. Be friendly with staff and they will be friendly back answering your questions. Don't jump to conclusions if for example you see a bruise on an arm because it could be from taking blood for tests that maybe the patient didn't remember. Doctors and nurses work very hard so make sure you give them respect but equally make sure you have a clear idea what is going on and let the patient know.
I hope you will not have to use these tips often. Do you have any of your own?