These are based on our personal experiences and may not apply to every situation. If you have other tips, please add them to the comments section and I’ll edit this post.
Call before dropping by. The patient (or caretaker) may be napping and not up to entertaining visitors
Send an email before calling. The sound of the phone ringing can be disruptive. I turned off all the ringers but one in our house and that one is very low.
Leave a voicemail. Then we can get back to you when it’s more convenient.
Don’t be general with things such as “call me if you need anything”. People like me will never call – unless that’s what you’re really hoping for. Instead say something like “I’m bringing you dinner tomorrow night. What are your dietary restrictions?” Or “I will sit with the patient on Saturday for 10-2 so you can get out of the house for a while”.
Limit your visit to 20 minutes or so. Twenty minutes may not seem very long, but plan for your visit to end promptly at the twenty minute mark unless the patient invites you to stay longer. Being hospitalized is exhausting and staying awake to entertain visitors can be draining.
Do not tell the patient about other friends or relatives who had the same surgery/disease but didn’t survive.
When talking with the patient, don’t expect him or her to solve YOUR problems. Leave those outside and focus on the patient.
Be SURE the patient isn’t allergic to flowers before sending them. By the same token, don’t wear perfume, cologne or shaving lotion. The patient may be allergic to those scents.
Don’t wake up a sleeping patient.
If a nurse or doctor wishes to speak with the patient, leave the room to give them privacy.
Do not use this time to text or make phone calls. Pay attention to the patient.