Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hospital Etiquette

When a friend is hospitalized, you want to show that you care, but you don’t want to demonstrate your concern in ways that will make the experience even more burdensome for your friend.

➤ Do not telephone. Calls can be burdensome or exhausting for a patient. They can also be annoying to other patients. Call the patient’s family or office to find out how things are going and have your message of concern passed on.
➤ Check with the family to see whether flowers are appropriate. Remember that nurses don’t have time to take care of flowers, and nothing is worse than a hospital room with dying flowers in it. If you want to send flowers, send them to the home on the day the patient returns home.
➤ Check with the doctor before bringing gifts of food or sweets.
➤ Send attractive and/or amusing greeting cards and include a written message, for example, “The office is a lot less cheerful and productive without you.”
➤ Send some light reading and/or books and poetry on tape. If the patient doesn’t have a tape player, supply one.
➤ Speak softly and carry a big smile.

People with disabilities are very much like people without disabilities except, perhaps, that their daily lives may require a bit more courage and character than the rest of us need. If you are uncomfortable in their presence, it is your fault, not theirs. This discomfort will disappear if, while acknowledging that they have a disability, you treat them with the same respect that you expect for yourself. They don’t want your pity, and they deserve your admiration.

No comments: