Please keep the following information and ideas in mind when visiting friends and family members at The Bellevue Hospital.
Talk to the patient
Do not be afraid. The most important part of a hospital visit is just being there.
Listen to the patient
Listen and ask questions about what you do not understand, but try not to give advice.
Have a sense of humor
Humor is essential. Find ways to encourage laughter. It can help reduce stress and deal with illness, emotional set backs and everyday upsets in a positive way.
Patients love visitors, unless they have had a difficult treatment session, a restless night, or an exhausting day. If so, ask if you may visit the next day or when they return home.
Bring patients news of your life
Share stories, discuss upcoming plans and family events, the news of the day, sports or a favorite television show.
Ask first before ordering flowers
Flowers are a beautiful way to brighten up a room, but some patients, due to certain illness or treatments, may not be allowed flowers. A card or photo of friends and family is always welcome.
Think first before purchasing balloons
Balloons are another great way to cheer up a patient. However, make sure balloons are latex-free before purchasing and bringing them into the hospital. The Bellevue Hospital Gift Shop sells latex-free balloons you may purchase for your patient.
There is nothing like artwork
Brighten up a hospital room with artwork. Bring in cards or drawings from family members and friends. This is a great way to involve younger members of the family in a patient's hospital stay.
Ask about snacks
Some patients may have a good appetite and be longing for their favorite slice of pizza or brand of cookies. Other patients may have very little or no appetite, or may not be allowed to eat certain foods, or be on a restricted diet. Be on the safe side and always check with the patient's nurse first.
Offer to run errands
Being in the hospital makes it nearly impossible to keep up with everyday responsibilities. Prepare a list of errands you could do for the patient - feeding the pets, watering house plants, getting mail, mowing the lawn or shoveling snow.
For the health of it
- Sanitize your hands before and after visiting. Feel free to use the patient's soap and water or hand sanitizer in their room when entering and leaving. You will avoid bringing in and carrying out germs.
- Do not sit on a patient's bed or handle their healthcare equipment.
- Stay at home if you are sick, or have any ill symptoms within the last three days including: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, cough or rash.
Talk to the nurse before entering the room with signs to find out what steps to follow - such as wearing a mask or gown - for your patient's protection.
And always remember...
Everything you hear and see in the hospital is private and confidential information. Be sure to ask the patient's permission before sharing information.