Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nurses' Advice - How To Support a Hospitalized Friend

Often we find ourselves with sick or hospitalized friends. It's difficult to know what to do to help them. Recently, nurses for the Saint Rose Dominican Hospital system got together to offer these suggestions for providing comfort to families of the sick and also for the patient.

Encourage Communication - A sick or injured person may not fully understand tests or exams to b e performed on them. By simply asking your friend, "Do you understand or need a nurse to explain things to you?" you could highlight the patient's needs for the nursing staff. The staff is always willing to help out and spend time making your friend feel more comfortable about the treatment they are receiving.

Offer Specific Support - If you ask, "How can I help?" your friend's family may say, "Don't worry. We're taken care of." Try making a specific offer such as, "I'd like to drop by and walk your dog, if that's okay. I could use the exercise myself." Most likely they will happily say yes.

Stay In Touch - Parents of sick newborns and children often find that friends distance themselves at a time when they need the most support. Keep in touch. Don't be afraid to mention the obvious; these parents would rather have some sort of communications than none at all.

Leave Your Troubles Behind - Emotions run high when a family member is hospitalized, even for a happy occasion like a birth. For the patient's sake don't bring your personal issues to their bedsides.

Provide Comfort Items - Patients appreciate having the comforts of home. Soft pillows and cozy fleece blankets make great gifts. A home-cooked meal is a definite pick-me up, but check on dietary restrictions first.

Make It Quick or Quiet - Patients often tire themselves out trying to be good hosts to visitors. Keep visits short and reassure the patient that it's okay for them to rest.

Respect the Patient's Wishes - Don't get upset if your friend's family decides to limit visitors, especially for childbirth hospitalizations. Women often comment that the most difficult aspect of having a baby is trying to have their own way without offending extended family who want to be in the room.

Next time you have a loved one in the hospital use these simple tips to help them on the road to recovery. Above all else, think of how you would want to be treated if you were the one in the bed and follow your best instincts.


SpinDiva said...

Thought provoking, touching, heartfelt and true...some of the adjectives I use to describe your blog. I have only read a few posts and have enjoyed them all the same. Thanks.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Thank you Spin,

I appreciate the kind words. Come back any time.