Where are your hospital manners?
We have at one time or the other been patients. Close family members, friends, relatives, colleagues and those dear to our hearts have been hospitalised too. When a patient is in hospital and especially when one’s condition is not stable, relatives and family tend to be overcome by anxiety, tension and stress.
Patients dearly cherish hospital visits which give them an opportunity for encouragement, moral and physical support. Unfortunately, not everyone always has goodwill towards the patients or their families. Some hospital visits are abusive and depressing rather than exhilarating. Some visitors even silently or verbally wish for patients to die.
Do your hospital visits make the patient better or worse? When you visit a patient, it is important to carry your hospital manners along with you. Commenting within the patient’s hearing that he or she has only 24 hours to live and will not make it, can be distressing to the patient. This is purely bad manners. Careless, reckless and insensitive talk must be discouraged by all means.
Patients tend to feel that relatives and friends owe them a visit. Do not promise a patient a visit unless you are sure to come because patients tend to hold grudges when you do not turn up. They are already vulnerable and may feel rejected , abandoned or even deserted. This may result in self-pity.
‘Get Well’ card
One should not celebrate over a patient’s illness or hospitalisation. Avoid malicious and negative remarks around the hospital as these thoughtless comments may worsen the patient’s condition when they get to hear of them. Telling a patient they look as thin as a rake and then bursting into tears is not in the patient’s best interest. Telling them off over their illness is extremely unkind. If you have no words of encouragement for the patience then silence may be very good for you. Better still would be a ‘Get Well’ card.
Some visitors carry other medicine to the patient and convince them to take them thus interfering with the patient’s regimen. Giving the patient charms or any other medicine can cause serious repercussions as the patient is already on prescribed medicine.
Visiting during meals, not because you want to assist feed the patient but to take advantage of the patient’s poor appetite is bad manners indeed. Gobbling up fruits from the patient’s fruit basket and drinking all the juice as if they will never recover is poor manners.
A genuine smile
Give the patient a genuine smile. There is no point going to visit a patient you do not like and then laughing very loudly during the visit, especially when you know the patience has extreme headaches. Body language experts can easily identify wrong body language. A lopsided smile may in fact mean you disapprove of the patient’s condition. Others take great lengths to investigate the patient’s personal life. They move around the hospital making friends with nurses and patients’ relatives to get background for gossip.
Please give the patient and his or her family personal space. Use wisdom to discern whether your visit may not be suitable for the patient. Kindly avoid distressing the patient with unusually long prayers or trying to push the patient to accept the Lord as their personal saviour when all they need to do is to sleep. Along with your manners, you could carry with you fresh flowers, an assortment of fruits, bottled water and of course a great and genuine smile. One can carry a range of toiletry like toothbrush, toothpaste, face towels, a comb, bathroom slippers and a change of underclothes.
Do not carry alcohol, cigarettes, charms or any other form of drugs to your patient, They will cause more damage than you could ever conceive. Happy visit!