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Doctor Explains What You Shouldn’t Do When Visiting Someone At The Hospital

Doctor Explains What You Shouldn’t Do When Visiting Someone At The Hospital

So, you just found out a family member or friend has been admitted to the hospital and you’re concerned. You think that you might visit them while they’re admitted so they don’t feel alone and know that you care.

However, have you ever stopped to consider that your presence at the hospital might be more dreaded than appreciated?

Recently a Malaysian doctor tweeted some tips for when you’re visiting a sick friend/family member at the hospital. You can check out her tweet at the end of the article, but we’ve summarised her points for you:

1. DO ask the patient/their relatives first if they’re comfortable having visitors

Aunty doesn’t mind if you just call her instead of coming over (Picture credit: Freepik)

Sometimes the patient is tired and needs rest. Sometimes their condition means that they aren’t decent enough to receive guests. And sometimes their family members are too busy to entertain you during your visit.

So, call or text first to ask for a suitable time to visit, or if seeing them once they’re back home might be best instead.

2. DON’T bother the patient with questions about their condition

Find out from the doctors, nurses, or their relatives if you aren’t family. Don’t burden the sick to brief you about their illness. They’ve likely already had to tell a tonne of other people before you.

3. DON’T bring the whole village with you


Too many screaming kids give aunty a headache. (Picture credit: Freepik)

Too many people at the ward will make other patients uncomfortable and someone might get in the way of a doctor or nurse performing their duties. Remember, this is a hospital, not a recreational area.

Additionally, unless absolutely necessary, leave the kids at home. Their immune systems are fragile and the hospital is full of sick people and germs. On the flip side, they could end up infecting other patients if they are sick too.

4. DON’T stay too long


Can’t you tell aunty has other things to do? (Picture credit: Freepik)

Remember, the patient is there to heal from their illness. Allow them to rest and don’t take up too much of their time.

In fact, if you feel your presence wouldn’t really do any good to the patient, then you can opt to refrain from visiting and just give them a call or send them a sincere text instead.

5. DO bring gifts for the patient (and their caregiver!)

These days, people are urged to stay away from filling the patient’s room with fruit baskets and bouquets of flowers (allergies, rotting fruits, not fun).

However, there are a wealth of other things that could be more helpful such as their favourite food, comfy pillows, wet wipes, or even lotion.

Don’t forget the patient’s caregiver too, they’d surely appreciate a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning or a nice warm blanket in the evening.

6. DO be nice and helpful


Aunty might smile sweetly at you but on the inside, she is cursing you and the future seven generations of your family because you won’t stop complaining about your life (Picture credit: Freepik)

Take this opportunity to make the patient feel cared for. Refrain from asking them insensitive questions or talking about yourself and your problems throughout your visit.

Instead, try to make sure they’re comfortable. Offer to dim the lights, adjust the curtains or air-cond temperature or bring more blankets to keep them warm.

7. DON’T use the visit to promote your MLM products


Aunty is not impressed by your MLM business. (Picture credit: Freepik)

You might mean well, but the last thing they want to do right now is shop for essential oils or health drinks. 

8. DON’T use the visit to harass them into other forms of alternative medicine

Unless you’re a doctor, your suggestions might actually be against the advice of the patient’s actual doctors.

9. DO clean up after yourself


Aunty and nurse bonding over their shared dissatisfaction with you because you left your rubbish everywhere (Picture credit: Freepik)

The doctors, nurses, patient and their relatives aren’t there to pick up and tidy after you.

Re-arrange the chairs you used, throw away any trash you brought in, thank the doctors and nurses on your way out.

10. DO respect the other patients and their visitors


Aunty wants to sleep now, please go home. (Picture credit: Freepik)

You don’t know what the other patients and visitors are going through. Maybe your family member/friend has dengue, meanwhile, the patient in the next bed might be struggling with cancer.

Don’t simply take photos or videos in the ward and upload them onto your social media. This is not a place to flex on the gram.

Keep noise at a minimum, be empathetic.

Check out the full thread on Twitter:

Do you have anything else to add on to hospital visit etiquette? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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