When people visit the hospital, they often forget that they are visiting someone who is ill. It isn’t really that we forget that the person is sick. We just forget that there are some special rules to visiting someone in the hospital. We often behave as though we are visiting someone at their home. The truth is, we need to take into consideration the fact that the person in the hospital bed may not even feel well enough to have visitors. Consider using hospital etiquette when you are visiting someone who is ill.
Etiquette for visiting a patient in the hospital:
Call First- Calling the patient before you go to the hospital to visit helps in two ways. First, it ensures that the patient is still at the hospital. If you aren’t sure that the patient is still there, a call first could save you a trip. Calling gives the patient a chance to say that they aren’t up for visitors at the time that you want to come visit. The patient could be getting x-rays or other testing done as well in which case, the visit will be a waste of your time.
Quiet- If the patient is up for a visit, it is important that you remember that quiet is important when you are in a hospital. It doesn’t have to be quite as quiet as the library, but remember to keep your voice down as much as possible. There are patients trying to rest in order to get well. When visitors come in, they tend to often get a little louder than they realize. Keep your tone as low as possible without having to whisper.
Perfumes- Do not wear perfumes when you visit a patient in the hospital. Most people don’t think about this, but heavy colognes or perfumes can be very bad for the patient or other patients. Remember that many people have allergies and wearing heaving colognes or perfumes can exasperate the problems they are already having.
Food and Drinks- If you are hungry or thirsty, eat and drink something before you get to the patients room. Many patients have to be on a special diet or may not be able to eat anything at all. It is rude to bring food into a hospital room when you are visiting a patient who can’t eat or drink with you. Food and drinks should never be brought into the a patient’s room unless you know for sure that you can share with him/her.
Doctor/Nurse Care- If a doctor or nurse comes into the room to talk to the patient or give some type of care, find out if the patient would like you to leave while he/she deals with the doctor or nurse. There are some things that should remain private. If the patient asks you to step out of the room, do so without hesitation.
Know When to Leave- If the patient seems as though he/she is overly tired or feeling especially bad when you visit him/her at the hospital, it is time to leave. Never overstay your welcome when visiting in the hospital. Most people don’t like to stay at the hospital long anyway. The patient feels that same way about you when you are visiting and they are tired or feeling especially bad.
When someone is admitted to the hospital, it is because they are sick. The only exception is when someone has a baby and it is still a time that the patient needs to get rest and heal. Be considerate of the patient and other patients that are in the hospital. Make the visits brief and be polite as possible while you are there.