When you head to the hospital to visit a loved one, there are certain rules of etiquette that you just need to follow. Knowing the right way to act is just as important as being aware of the specific hospital visiting rules. Being in the hospital is never a pleasant experience and you certainly do not want to add to this unpleasantness. You want your loved one to be as relaxed as possible. You also don’t want them slinging bed pans in your general direction.
No Perfume or Cologne
Imagine lying in a hospital bed feeling nauseated. Suddenly the overpowering scent of tulips and musk hits your nostrils. The odds are pretty good that you might hit the bathroom running. The same is true for most hospital patients. When you spend the day sandwiched between four stark white walls, your senses tend to be a bit heightened and under-stimulated. Even the good perfume or cologne will smell pretty strong.
Keep the Gum and Food at Home
No one, especially someone who is sick and uncomfortable, wants to hear you smacking your gum. You should also skip eating in front of your hospitalized loved one. There is a good chance that he or she is either not allowed to eat right now, or is on a modified diet. Chowing down on some takeout sushi from their favorite restaurant in front of him or her could actually be a bit cruel. There is a time and place for multitasking and this is not one of them.
Leave The Children At Home
With the exception of immediate family with whom your children are close, just leave the kids at home. Your children probably don't know your Great Aunt Edna and will likely be bored during the visit. We all know that bored children can make for loud and unruly children and that is the last thing that you need on a floor full of sick people! Besides – most hospital visiting rules ban children for all but the maternity ward! You don't want to get there and then have to figure out what to do with the kids!
Speak But Don't Touch
Most hospitalized patients have at least an IV and probably at least one more tube or drain sticking out of them somewhere. They are also a bit agitated, restless, possibly in pain and just not themselves. When you swing by their room, just say hello and maybe gently touch their hand. A bear hug can do a lot more harm than good. You could hurt them, or at the very least, make them more agitated than they already are.
Stay Off the Bed
When you are visiting, do not sit on the bed. All hospital rooms have at least one or two chairs. Use these and if others are already sitting, just stand. Standing for 30 minutes is not going to kill you. You also must never steal chairs from your loved one's roommate. He or she likely has visitors too and they may want to sit.
Bring an Appropriate Gift
If you are going to bring a gift, make sure it is appropriate. For example, a patient with hearing issues will not benefit from an MP3 player and a patient who had eye surgery will not benefit from magazines or books. You also have to be careful with flowers. People can be allergic to flowers and those who are having problems with their immune system might actually be at risk for serious illness when exposed to fresh flowers or produce. Even if you know that the person that you are visiting doesn't have any allergies, bear in mind that they may have a roommate who does have allergies! One other thing about allergies – most hospital visiting rules now also ban all latex balloons. Save yourself some money and either skip the latex balloons or buy mylar ones…because chances are you won't be able to bring them in to the hospital!
Leave Your Cell Phone in the Car (or at least – turn it OFF)
You are here to visit your loved one. Playing Candy Crush or texting with your best friend is not particularly polite when you are checking in on the well-being of your friend or family member. You need to be present and focused on them.
When someone is recovering from an illness, injury or medical procedure the last thing they want to do is hear about is your drama. You need to be positive and keep the conversation light. If you want to talk about your cheating boyfriend, do so after they are back home and feeling better.
What other hospital visiting rules of etiquette can you share with others?