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How to Plan a Hospital Visit Hero Label

How to Plan a Hospital Visit

Being in the hospital can be hard for patients, and they often look forward to visits from family and friends. Connecting with friends and family is important when time get tough. Don't let feelings of awkwardness or uncertainty about how to do it, stop you from being the support that someone could use.

When preparing to drop in on a patient, keep these tips in mind:

  • Be sure to call ahead to the hospital patient information line to find out if the patient is allowede visitors and what times and protocols are suggested. As well as to a family member or friend who is taking care of the person during their hospital stay. While knowing the hospitals policies is really good (and takes the burden of finding out this information from the patient's personal connections) it's really important to also check in with the patient's personal contact in case other visits have been arranged or even to learn that visits aren't a good idea at this time. 
  • Even once you have a date and time scheduled, before you go, double check with the patient to make sure it's still a good time.
  • If you'd like to offer to bring something you may. Just check with the patient, patient's friend or family who are helping, or the nursing staff to make sure the item is allowed. Puzzles, cards and games are all usually welcome, food can be hit or miss, so it's a really good one to ask about. Movies, books, and other entertainment are usually safe bets. Flowers can be hit or miss as well, check with the hospital first about any policy regarding aroma or pollen. For more on how to be helpful when someone is staying in the hospital see our article here.
  • Plan to keep your visit brief and uplifting; take cues from the patient so you don't overstay your welcome.
  • It may be nice to bring along a touch of home that the patient may be missing while in the hospital (a favorite pillow or framed photo, for example).
  • Avoid wearing perfumes or other strong scents on the day of your visit, as smells may seem stronger or nauseating to people who are ill or recovering.