Maybe it’s a co-worker, or a family member. Someone in your church or on your bowling team or your book group. They’ve been sick for a while; treatment hasn’t helped. Now you hear they’re on hospice.
The Best Ways to Support Your Friend
Your friend is dying. The person you saw and spoke with so easily now seems impossible to call or visit. You put off seeing them because you don’t know what to say, how to act.
Take a deep breath. This is about your friend, not you. Wise words gleaned from professionals and from people just like you can help. Hospice makes time for final words and second chances. Not only can you visit a dying friend, but both of you will be better for it.
First, of course, you should be yourself. Second, you’re going to take conversational cues from your friend. Whether they want to talk about death or last night’s game, you are there to listen, ask questions and keep the focus on them.
If you both sit silently, that is OK too. Some wonderful conversations arise out of silence.
Ask if there is anything you can do, from filling a water pitcher to walking the dog to picking the last of their tomatoes—long after your friend is gone.
Plan to stay 15 minutes. If it’s going well and your friend has enough stamina, you can stay longer. Whether your visit is in a facility or at home, be cognizant of schedules and the patient’s needs. Ask if you should step away if something needs to be done for the patient.
Help a Sick Person Feel Better
Be an Encouragement to Someone Who Is Sick or Ill
Find Your NHS Number
Volunteer at a Hospital
Visit a Hospitalized Patient
Feed an Elderly Relative in the Hospital
Prepare Yourself for Visiting Someone in Hospital
Prevent Health Care Associated Infections
Reduce the Risk of Hospital Spread Infections
Practice Hospital Visiting Etiquette
- Coping with Illness
- Being a Patient
- Hospital Stays
- About wikiHow
- Contact Us
- Site Map
- Do Not Sell My Info
- Not Selling Info
Don’t miss out! Sign up for
We noticed you’re using an ad blocker.
We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow.
December 23, 2016
Written by Zawn Villines
Sooner or later, almost everyone visits someone in the hospital. Whether it’s the thrill of seeing a new mother or the sorrow of visiting an ailing grandparent, hospital visits can trigger sensory overload. A few simple rules can help you efficiently navigate your hospital visit while providing meaningful support to your hospitalized loved one.
1. Know when you’re welcome.
Some hospitals allow visitors throughout the day, while others limit them to specific visiting hours. Call ahead to inquire about visiting hours, but don’t end your inquiry there. The fact that someone is in the hospital does not necessarily mean they want visitors, something that is particularly the case with new mothers, who may want a chance to settle into parenthood before entertaining guests. Ask your loved one if you’ll be welcome, then schedule a convenient time to visit.
2. Locate parking.
Finding parking can be a hassle, particularly on large campuses with multiple buildings and several parking lots. Consult an online map of the hospital to locate the most convenient parking garage. Note that some parking decks offer free parking for short visits, so if you’re short on cash, check on free parking limits and keep your trip short.
3. Bring cash.
You’ll likely need cash to pay for parking, and you may want it for the vending machines. Even if you intend to keep your visit short and snack-free, your loved one might appreciate a bag of chips or a drink from the vending machine, so arrive prepared.
4. Offer them food.
Hospital food is notoriously bland. Ask your loved one if you can bring a meal, whether homemade or from a favorite fast food joint. Patients need energy from food, and endless days of unpleasant meals can be downright depressing.
5. Go in good health.
A person who’s already in the hospital cannot afford to get sick. Even if you’re visiting the mother of a healthy newborn, consider that a serious cold or flu can be life-threatening to fragile newborn babies. Never go to the hospital if you are sick or think you might be getting sick. Colds are most contagious immediately before and right after getting sick. So even if you have only a sniffle, don’t risk the health of your loved one.
6. Wash your hands.
Hand-washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of illness. You never know what you’ve been exposed to, especially as most illnesses are contagious before symptoms develop. Wash your hands before entering the hospital room, and again after touching your face or nose. It costs you nothing and can preserve your loved one’s health.
7. Take something useful.
Hospital stays can feel long and dreary. Rather than bringing flowers or a stuffed animal, consider taking along something to make your loved one’s day a little better. A favorite book, a portable DVD player and a few movies, an adult coloring book or a journal can make time in the hospital less dull. Remember also that lots of people check into the hospital with little warning, forgetting items like a change of clothes and a phone charger. Ask if there are any practical things you can bring along.
8. Don’t overstay your welcome.
Visitors can provide instant comfort, but they can also be stressful. If your loved one seems tired, distracted, or doesn’t feel well, keep your visit short. Prolong your stay only if your loved one asks you to stick around for a while longer. And if they seem lonely, you can always ask if they’d like you to stay for an hour or two.
9. Be an uplifting visitor.
Don’t show up to the hospital with a tale of woe about your life or an endless litany of stressful topics. Your loved one does not want to hear about how badly their dog is misbehaving or how unreasonable their mother is being in their absence. Keep conversation positive. That doesn’t mean your interactions have to be superficial. Instead, stay away from stressful and upsetting topics unless your loved one initiates the discussion.
10. Respect privacy.
Hospital patients may undergo frequent blood work or invasive procedures. New moms may frequently be nursing. Being in the hospital doesn’t mean that a patient no longer cares about privacy. Leave the room when a doctor or nurse visits, since your loved one may not want you to be privy to private medical information or procedures. Don’t assume that a new mom is comfortable nursing in front of you or that a patient doesn’t care about being exposed in front of you, even if the patient is your parent or child.
by Paul Kazlauskas
Visiting a patient in a hospital isn’t easy. You are going to see a person who isn’t feeling their best, in a place where no one likes to be. It may be hard to find the right thing to say to make them feel better. Sometimes a hospital visitor can detract from the care of the patient they are there to cheer up. However, you can have a positive influence on a patient’s recovery if you follow some simple visitor guidelines. These 15 ideas are from nurses who have “seen it all”.
1. Confirm the hospital’s visiting hours. A quick call to the hospital or a few minutes to check its web site will ensure the timing of your visit is good. Reaching out in some way to the hospital also gives them a chance to communicate any special instructions for the visit.
For example, visitors should try to avoid visiting during a change-of-shift report. Most hospitals change shifts between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning and again in the evening. This is the time when nurses go into the patient’s room and discuss their plan of care with nurses coming on-shift. This should be a private discussion, and there shouldn’t be interruptions in communicating patient information. Overall, the busiest time of day for the staff is 6am-11am as nurses give meds, clean patients, and get labs done in the morning. Because the hospital staff is usually tied up with care, it can be short on updates during this time of day.
2. Confirm the visit with the patient. While the visit may fall during the hospital’s normal visiting hours, perhaps the patient may not be up for a visit. Showing up unannounced could be a waste of time if the patient is sleeping, resting, or is being cared for (not to mention rude, especially if the patient is a very private person).
3. Visitors should always check in at the front desk when visiting a patient. The reason is to control the number of visitors in a room at a time. Many facilities will limit two to three people at a time. If there are 5-10 people in the room, the staff is inhibited with a lack of space to do their job. More importantly, it can be really overwhelming for a patient.
4. Visitors and family members should designate one spokesperson to ask the staff for updates. Nurses may find themselves filling in a visitor and have to do it all over again when someone else comes in. Visitors should also know that it’s not always possible for medical staff to give complete updates due to HIPAA and privacy issues. If you aren’t the emergency contact or power of attorney, the medical staff may not be legally able to give you a complete, detailed update.
5. If you don’t feel well yourself, don’t visit until you feel better. Practice common sense when there is a possibility of spreading germs. Don’t enter a hospital if you even think you may be contagious. Call the patient on the phone or send a card.
6. Flowers can be a bad “get-well” gift. Flowers are the most popular gift to give when visiting someone in the hospital. However, the patient may be allergic to them. If the patient has a roommate, they may be allergic as well. Plus, depending on the type of care on any given floor, flowers may be against the rules (ex. ICU, CCU). Some alternative gift ideas include a good book, magazines, stationery, or warm socks.
7. Don’t wear perfume or cologne. A strong scent can be stomach-turning and uncomfortable to the patient’s sense of smell. Refrain from using perfume or cologne before your visit and instead apply it after you leave. The same applies to smoking. If you have to smoke, wait till the visit is over before lighting up.
8. Don’t bring food or drink. Patients in hospitals have their food brought to them. Sometimes, they are on a strict diet while staying in the hospital. Outside food and drink will not only undermine their diets, the food may also contain germs that could potentially make the patient more sick.
9. Don’t comment on how bad hospital food is. Your friend or family member is aware of how the food tastes. Like mentioned above, the patient may not have a choice as to what they are eating while in the hospital. Remember, you are there to make them feel better.
10. Leave the diagnosis/care to the hospital staff. Do not ask the patient for a detailed explanation of what they are experiencing and then offer your own opinion on their health or how the doctor is doing their job. Visitors should also step out of the room when patients are getting care. For example, if the patient is being given a bedpan or a medication (like a shot in the stomach), the patient may not want their visitor to be that “up-close and personal”.
11. Don’t bring your “business” into the hospital visit. Make any necessary personal and/or business phone calls before or after the visit. Don’t bring a computer with you to do work. Don’t talk about how stressed you are at work. The focus of the visit should be on the patient.
12. Keep the messages comforting. Don’t come for a visit and begin telling “horror stories” of what happened to other people at other hospitals. Talk about positive things.
13. Don’t overstay your welcome. Many nurses suggest a maximum visit time of 15 to 20 minutes. Be aware of the condition of the patient you are visiting and their ability to enjoy your visit. If the person in the hospital bed keeps falling asleep during your stories, it’s time to let them rest.
14. Never leave your cell phone or other devices turned on in a hospital. Depending on the department, hospitals may post signs stating all visitors must turn off their phones entirely to prevent interference with hospital equipment. Even if you don’t see a sign like that, it couldn’t hurt to wait till the visit is over before using your phone.
15. Unless it’s necessary, avoid bringing children to the hospital. Children are not always on their best behavior. Sometimes they can’t control their impulses. In addition, young children tend to play on the floor and put things in their mouths, which is a very bad idea at hospitals. Unless absolutely necessary, try to leave the kids at home.
What other tips do you have for people visiting patients in a hospital? Please add your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.
Want the latest, best security practices delivered straight to your inbox? Click the “Subscribe to the Blog” button (on the left side navigation).
Our visitor badges “VOID” overnight to prevent reuse.
See them for yourself — request free samples!
Posted on 12/7/2016
In Matthew 25, we read Jesus’ teaching, “I was sick and you took care of me… I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me” (vs.36-39).
Despite this exhortation, many Christians are hesitant to visit people who are in the hospital and care for them. Why? It could be because of a previous negative experience. Or maybe they just aren’t sure what to do when they get there. Indeed, feeling unprepared seems to be one of the major reasons that believers hesitate to visit even their loved ones who are in the hospital.
Practical Advice for Hospital Visitation
On an episode of the Table Podcast, Dr. Darrell Bock sat down with Chaplain Eva Bleeker and Stronghold Ministry Director Joe Fornear and talked about becoming prepared to minister to patients. Out of this conversation came some good, practical advice that you can use today.
Here are just five tips to help you prepare for visiting someone in the hospital.
1. Be there for them
Just showing up and being there for your friend in the hospital is a big deal. It’s OK to be brutally honest when you show up and tell them, “I’m not really sure what to say, but I just wanted to be here for you.” Your mere presence by their side could be a very big deal to them.
2. Let them lead
Some people worry about saying something at the wrong time, even if it’s something positive. But remember that this visit isn’t about you. You’re actually off the hook when it comes to having to say something profound or being in the spotlight. This is all about the patient. So let them lead and direct what happens during your visit. Ask them what they would like your time to look like.
3. Be a good listener
Rather than feeling pressured to give advice or “make it all better,” come in as a listener. Ask open ended questions. Fornear, a former cancer patient, suggests something like, “I know this is horrible. How are you handling this? How are you coping?” or even just, “What it is this like for you?” Listen carefully and openly to their answers. You might find this tells you a lot about their plans, what they’re putting their trust in, and where they are at with God.
4. Respect their pain
Respecting the pain your friend or relative is going through means not saying something like, “I can really relate to you and what you are going through,” if you haven’t actually experienced the same thing. Fornear discovered that, even though he had been a cancer patient, he needed to be more sensitive to the specific types of issues he encountered during hospital visits. He explains:
I once had an experience with a female patient. She was really hurting. She was describing something about the procedure that she had, but it was female-related. And I had lot of really painful things (happen to me). I was just trying to say, “I’ve been there. I’ve had a lot of pain.”
I could tell I really offended her because she was saying, “You haven’t had what I just had,” because it was a female-related procedure she had. Even though I had horrible pains and horrible things they were doing to me, I think it’s wise not to say, “Oh, I can really relate to what you’re experiencing.”
5. Be ready to pray and read scripture
Be ready to read from the Scriptures. Pick out a few verses just in case, but always be sure to ask the person you’re visiting, “Could I read you some Scripture verses that came to mind while I was thinking about you?”
Be ready to pray for them. But, again, be sure to ask. “Can I pray with you? What’s your biggest prayer request right now?” Beyond physical healing, the patient might have a specific request in regards to their care, the medical staff, their family, or something else that is weighing on them.
Although many Christians feel unprepared to visit and care for their friends and relatives who are in the hospital, there are simple things you can do to put yourself in their shoes and be equipped to serve. These five tips are just the beginning of an entire episode on practical advice to help you feel more prepared to visit someone in the hospital.
Hospital in your dream may have both direct and indirect meanings. Mostly, it refers to your health state. Also, such a dream may show your attitude to people and theirs to you.
If you are in hospital in your dream, it is an alarm sign. It denotes that you’d better go to a doctor, especially if something has been disturbing you for a long time, but you attach little importance to it. It is possible that a doctor will prescribe some treatment. Grudge no money and time. Take your health state more seriously! Do your best to prevent a disease if it is still possible.
Leaving a hospital in your dream is a very good sign in real life. It signifies that you’ll recover soon. What you need is to follow your doctor’s prescriptions and not lose your heart. You’ll return to your usual stream of life as a healthy person very soon.
Visiting someone in hospital in your dream has several meanings:
- Your life will improve. The problems you have will be eliminated. You’ll be successful businessman/businesswoman. The difficulties with maintaining your family hearth will be unknown to you. Everything in your life will run like clockwork. Good for you! May you be wise enough not to spoil idyll.
- Somebody will ask you to help, and you won’t be able to refuse. Accept this request. Remember, that you can also be in some rough situation where you’ll need help.
- You feel compassion to someone in waking life; you want to alleviate his/her pains or sorrow, and you would if you knew how.
- You’ll regret about some of your decisions. After thorough analysis it’ll seem to you hasty and unreasonable.
- You’ll hear unpleasant news about a dear person.
An image of a mental hospital in your dream is connected purely with your psychological state. If you are seeing a mental hospital in your dream or you are in it, it presages psychological tension and pressure on you. You will be extremely anxious about somebody or something. Your heart’s-ease will be unstable in the nearest future due to some disturbing events in your life.
If you are returning to a hospital where you’ve undergone a course of treatment, it is a bad luck. It foreshadows physical or mental impairment. Be very attentive to your state of health.
Being admitted to a hospital is an unfavorable sign. It cautions you against your ill-wishers who can weave a plot about you or make up a plan how to make you fail. Don’t pay attention to their unworthy behavior. Rise above them. Probably, they just envy. Don’t take their insults personally.
James Lacy, MLS, is a fact checker and researcher. James received a Master of Library Science degree from Dominican University.
JGI / Tom Grill / Getty Images
- Patient Advocacy
- Navigating Your Diagnosis
- Treatment Decisions & Safety
- Medical Records
- Managing Medical Costs
- Healthcare Team
- Hospital Stay Safety
It might surprise you to know that hospital visitors can be safety hazards who potentially introduce problems to the patients they hope to cheer or assist. The problems may be directly related to physical harm, or may even be mental or emotional.
It can be difficult to visit a patient in the hospital, but you can have a positive influence on your friend or loved one’s recovery if you follow some simple visitor guidelines. Knowing the dos and don’ts may give you the confidence you need.
Ask for permission to visit
Wash your hands
Consider allergies and restrictions on decorations and gifts
Turn off cell phone
Keep visit short
Leave if doctor or provider arrive
Visit if you might be contagious
Bring young children
Bring food without checking on restrictions
Smoke before or during visit
Dos for Hospital Visitors
Do ask the patient’s permission to visit before you arrive. Ask them to be candid with you, and if they prefer you not visit, ask them if another day would be better, or if they would prefer you visit once they get home. Many patients love visitors, but some just don’t feel up to it. Do the patient the courtesy of asking permission.
Do wash your hands and sanitize them before you touch the patient or hand the patient something you’ve been touching. If you wash your hands, then touch something else, like a telephone or TV remote or even the bed linens or your jacket, wash your hands and sanitize them again. Infections come from almost any source and the pathogens can survive on surfaces for days. You can’t risk being responsible for making your favorite patient even sicker than they already are.
Do take balloons or flowers as long as you know the patient isn’t allergic to them and is in a room by themself. If your patient shares a hospital room, you won’t want to take either, because you don’t know if the roommate has an allergy. Most solid color balloons are latex, which is rubber, and some people are allergic to rubber. When in doubt, take mylar balloons or don’t take any at all.
Do consider alternatives to balloons and flowers. A card, something a child has made for you to give to the patient, a book to read, a crossword puzzle book, even a new nightgown or pair of slippers are good choices. The idea isn’t to spend much money; instead, it’s about making the patient feel cared for without creating problems that might trigger an allergic reaction.
Do turn off your cell phone, or at least turn the ringer off. Different hospitals have different rules about where and when cell phones can be used. In some cases, they may interfere with patient-care devices, so your patient can be at risk if you don’t follow the rules. In other cases, it’s simply a consideration for those who are trying to sleep and heal and don’t want to be annoyed by ringtones.
Do stay for a short time. It’s the fact that you have taken the time to visit, and not the length of time you stay, that gives your patient the boost. Staying too long may tire them out. Better to visit more frequently but for no more than a half hour or so each time.
Do leave the room if the doctor or provider arrives to examine or talk to the patient. The conversation or treatment they provide is private, and unless you are a proxy, parent, spouse or someone else who is an official advocate for the patient, that conversation is not your business. You can return once the provider leaves.
Don’ts for Hospital Visitors
Don’t enter the hospital if you have any symptoms that could be contagious. Neither the patient nor other hospital workers can afford to catch whatever you have. If you have symptoms like a cough, runny nose, rash or even diarrhea, don’t visit. Make a phone call or send a card instead.
During flu season, it is not uncommon for hospitals to restrict visitors to spouses, significant others, family members over 18, and pastors, so it is worthwhile to call the hospital before your visit.
Don’t take young children to visit unless it’s absolutely necessary. Even then, check with the hospital before you take a child with you. Many hospitals have restrictions on when children may visit.
Don’t take food to your patient unless you know the patient can tolerate it. Many patients are put on special diets while in the hospital. This is especially true for those with certain diseases or even those who have recently had anesthesia for surgery. Your goodies could cause big problems.
Don’t visit if your presence will cause stress or anxiety. If there is a problem in the relationship, wait until after the patient is well enough to go home before you potentially stress them by trying to mend that relationship.
Don’t expect the patient to entertain you. Your friend or loved one is there to heal and get healthy again, not to talk or keep you occupied. It may be better for your patient to sleep or just rest rather than carry on a conversation. If you ask them before you visit, gauge their tone of voice as well as the words they use. They may try to be polite, but may prefer solitude at this time instead of a visit.
Don’t stay home, on the other hand, because you assume your friend or loved one prefers you not visit. You won’t know until you ask, and your friend or loved one will appreciate the fact that you are trying to help by asking the question.
Don’t smoke before visiting or during a visit, even if you excuse yourself to go outdoors. The odor from smoke is nauseating to many people, and some patients have a heightened sense of smell while taking certain drugs or in the sterile hospital environment. At most, it will cause them to feel sicker, and if your friend is a smoker, you may cause them to crave a cigarette, and that might be problematic.
Being in the hospital can be stressful and confusing. It can be difficult to get the information you need from your doctors and healthcare team, ensure all members of the team are communicating to lower the risk of medical errors and inappropriate testing and care, and make medical decisions when you’re ill or injured and under stress. That’s why having someone who can advocate on your behalf with doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff members can be valuable.
How to choose an advocate
Your advocate can be a family member, friend, caregiver, or professional health advisor or advocate. The qualities a good advocate needs include:
- Being assertive and comfortable talking with doctors and healthcare providers and getting them to answer questions in plain English
- Having the time to be at the hospital with you, which might be difficult for someone with a demanding job or family responsibilities
- Being organized to help handle the paperwork associated with your hospitalization and willing to take notes and gather information from your healthcare team about your diagnosis and treatment
- Being someone you’re comfortable sharing the details of your health with and who is aware who you want them to share that information with and who you don’t
What does an advocate do?
There are several key roles your advocate may take on. What those roles entail will be different depending on your condition, for example whether you’re able to speak for yourself or you need someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf.
The main role of your advocate is to help lower the risk of medical errors and ensure you get the most appropriate care from qualified, experienced specialists. To achieve that goal, advocates may:
- Talk with the physicians and others involved with your treatment: Your advocate can meet with you healthcare team and ask any questions you have about your diagnosis and treatment plan. If possible, your advocate should be present when your physician sees you during daily rounds in the hospital and take notes on how your treatment is progressing, what the next steps are, and raise any questions or concerns you or advocate has about your care or your condition.
- Provide your medical history: An advocate can provide your treating physicians with your medical and family history if you’re not able to. If possible, keep your medical records in a secure electronic format so that accurate information can be easily shared with everyone who treats you. In an emergency, your advocate can describe the symptoms causing your need for hospitalization, including when they started and whether you’ve experienced these symptoms before.
- Help minimize the risk of medical errors and hospital acquired infections:Medication errors can cause serious harm, so your advocate should have a list of all the medications, including over-the-counter medications and supplements, that you take, as well as any medication allergies. When hospital staff come to administer medications, your advocate should confirm what the medications and dosages are, as well as checking to make sure the doctor or nurse is delivering those medications to the correct patient. If a new medication is prescribed, ask what it is, what it’s for, and what potential side effects you should be aware of. Your advocate should take the same approach when someone comes to perform or take you for diagnostic testing or other procedures, checking to make sure they have the right patient and that the test or procedure hasn’t already been performed by another member of your healthcare team. It’s also wise to remind all visitors and healthcare professionals to wash their hands before they come into contact with the patient.
- Make sure your wishes are respected: When you choose an advocate, make sure you share what types of care you do and do not want to undergo in case of a serious illness or injury. For example, would you want to be put on a ventilator or feeding tube and, if so, under what circumstances? Do you have a do not resuscitate order?
- Ask about follow-up care and recovery: When you’re ready to be discharged from the hospital, your advocate should ask your physician when you need to be seen for your first follow-up visit and by whom, if there are any medications you need to continue taking or should discontinue, how to care for any incisions or wounds, if you need any special equipment at home during recovery, if there are limitations on what you can do, and what symptoms could indicate a complication or side effect that requires medical attention.
Topics: Cancer, Disease Management, Medical Errors, surgery
Plus, how to not make the patient sicker
The goal of visiting friends and family in the hospital is to help them feel better, not get sick yourself. While the hospital can help your loved one heal, it’s teeming with all kind of dangerous germs.
Health care organizations offer consistent recommendations for visitors to stay safe and be part of the solution — helping patients return home as soon as possible.
“It is important to remember that a hospital is a healing environment and behavior that is tolerated in other locations is inappropriate where people are seriously ill,” says Jenn Downs, a spokeswoman for Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. Hospital staff caution visitors against smoking or drinking anywhere on the grounds or property and warn them not to get into verbal or physical confrontations with the friends, family, hospital staff and, of course, the patient.
Keeping yourself safe
NextAvenue, a national service for Americans over 50, offers these tips for a safe visit with your loved one.
Leave your baby at home. “I can’t tell you how often I cringe at the sight of infants crawling around on a surgery waiting room floor,” writes Elizabeth Hanes, RN, in an essay on hospital visitor safety. Noting that this could expose their immune system to potentially lethal bacteria, she adds, “My advice as a nurse? Don’t bring infants and toddlers to the hospital at all unless you have to. It’s not worth the risk.”
Wash your hands.This is the probably the important step you can take to control hospital infections, according to Susan O’Rourke, RN, of the Center for Patient Safety at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Wash before and after you visit your loved one, every time you visit.
Consider every surface is potentially contaminated. Bring along a small container of hand sanitizer and use it liberally.
Follow the instructions from medical staff. If you are asked to wear a mask or other protective clothing, don’t balk. It’s both for your own safety and that of the patient.
Mind the signs. Stay away from areas marked hazardous. If you see a “wet floor” sign, find a new route. You don’t want to take a spill and end up in a hospital bed yourself.
Don’t touch or play with any equipment on the premises. In addition, keep track of your children, advises Downs: “Don’t let them run down hallways or let them go into empty rooms to watch television.”
Wear closed-toed shoes to protect your feet from hospital germs and other hazards. If you wear sandals and “have even the tiniest of cracks in the skin around your toenails, on your heel or anywhere else, you’re inviting those germs in,” according to Hanes.
Wash your clothes and take a shower as soon as you get home.
Keeping the patient safe
Sometimes we may feel that we need to spend a lot of time cheering someone up, when we might be exhausting the patient instead. If your friend or family will be in the hospital only a short while, find out whether he would rather receive visitors at home, where it’s more comfortable. If he approves a visit, make it short so he can rest and continue healing.
If you bring a gift, be sure it is small and lightweight to make carrying it home after discharge as easy as possible. Some people are allergic to latex, so if you want to bring balloons, make sure they’re Mylar (foil) balloons. Also, remember that flowers aren’t allowed in cancer wards or burn units because they may have bacteria or fungi on them that could cause infections in people with compromised immune systems.
Here are some other tips for helping your loved one heal.
Don’t visit if you’re sick. No matter how anxious you are to see someone, you don’t want to give him your illness.
Wash your hands before entering the patient’s room (and again if you touch the doorknob).
Hold down the noise. Loud conversations from the hallway can be stressful for patients. If you need to talk with other visitors, go to the waiting area rather than standing in the corridors.
Don’t bring food for patients without the doctor’s approval. You may not be able to bring fresh fruit to a cancer patient, for example, because the fungi or bacteria lurking on the surface could cause an infection.
Let your loved one guide the conversation. This is not the time to bring up controversial topics or rehash painful events from the past.
Ask before using a cell phone and if in doubt, turn it off. In some hospitals, the signal can interfere with hospital equipment.
Check IDs. The medical staff at all U.S. hospitals are required to wear identification. If you have any doubt that someone should be treating the patient, ask to see an ID.
Steve Evans, MA, is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years experience in daily news, investigative, health and business journalism. Among other jobs, he has served as managing editor of the Central Virginia Newspaper Group, as a senior writer for SNL Financial and as a staff writer for The Progress Index and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Preparing Your Child For Hospital
You will feel more at ease if you are well informed about your child’s hospital visit and have arranged support for yourself and your family.
Key points to remember about preparing your child for hospital
- it is important to give children information simply and truthfully, in words they understand
- tell them that they will be going to hospital and what they may expect to happen there
- a prepared child will find it easier to cope with their hospital experience
What if I am worried or anxious about my child’s hospital visit?
It is important to give children information simply and truthfully, in words they understand.
These are normal and natural feelings. But, with adequate preparation, a stay in hospital can be a positive experience. You will feel more at ease if you are well informed and have arranged support for yourself and your family. A relative or family friend may be able to help with visiting or with the care of any other children you have.
What should I tell my child about their hospital visit?
It is important to give children information simply and truthfully, in words they understand. Tell them that they will be going to hospital and what they may expect to happen there.
Reassure your child that someone will be able to stay with them in hospital.
A prepared child will find it easier to cope with their hospital experience. See information about helping your child manage their treatment.
What should I find out before my child’s hospital visit?
Before your child’s hospital stay, find out as much as possible about what will happen, such as:
- how long will your child need to stay?
- can you be present during procedures such as x-rays and scans?
- can brothers and sisters visit at any time?
- what facilities are there for you to stay with your child?
- if your child needs an anaesthetic, can you be with them when the anaesthetic is given, and in the recovery room afterward?
- if your child has special needs, is the hospital aware of these and what support is available?
- is there a pre-admit or play preparation programme to help children understand what will happen?
What should I bring for my child’s hospital visit?
- it can be a good idea to involve your child in packing a bag to take to hospital, if possible – children can usually wear their own clothes or nightwear if they wish
- include something familiar and comforting, such as a cuddly, a favourite toy or game, pictures of family
- don’t forget to include the other children in your family in discussions – they will also need to know what is happening and why
- don’t forget to bring clothing, a book and money for the person who is to stay with your child
- if your child has special needs, you will need to bring any mobility aids and any other resources that they normally need or use
- car seat, if applicable, for when your child leaves hospital (see car seats)
How can play help my child in hospital?
Check the external links and downloads below for a website with more information about play specialists.
Play is familiar and reassuring. It’s how children make sense of the world around them. In hospital, it helps children to learn and develop, and to feel less anxious. It also helps them to express their feelings, understand what is happening and cope with treatment.
Many hospitals have play specialists who can give you suggestions about how best to prepare your child.
How can I make a hospital visit easier for my child?
It is important to be with your child as much as you can so that they continue to feel loved and safe. Younger children especially will cope with the hospital experience best if a parent, or other trusted person, stay with them.
If you have to leave, tell your child that you are going, and leave confidently, even if this causes distress. Make sure your nurse knows that you are leaving and when you will be back.
Talk to your child about timelines that make sense to them. For example, tell them that you’ll be back after lunch or as long as it takes to watch a favourite movie etc.
What can I expect once my child is home again?
When children go home, it is common for them – and for their brothers and sisters – to need extra love, patience and attention until they feel secure again.
It is likely that your child’s behaviour may change for a time. They may worry more about things in general, and particularly about their health or about minor injuries. They may be more ‘clingy’ or babyish. Eating and sleeping habits may change. They may be fearful in situations which remind them of hospital or of illness. All of these are very common reactions and should pass in time.
Opportunities to share their feelings, to talk about their experience if they want to, and to play ‘hospitals’ will help. Older children may also like to draw pictures or make a book about their hospital stay.
What should I do if I am worried about my child after their hospital visit?
If you are worried or if your child’s changed behaviour continues beyond a few weeks, you could contact:
- the Hospital Play Specialists Association
- your family doctor
- the charge nurse or social worker on your child’s hospital ward
- PlunketLine on 0800 933 922
- Healthline on 0800 611 116
Making hospital visits easier for your child (PDF, 262KB)
Being with a child or young person in hospital can be a challenging event and affect the entire family. The 2014 8-page booklet How to make a hospital visit easier for your child or young person (PDF, 262KB) produced by the Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa/New Zealand aims to give practical information to help make a visit to the hospital easier for you and your child.
Hospital Play Specialists Association
Play specialists may be able to advise you on how to help your child cope with illness, treatment and hospitalisation.
Plunket – supporting families
Plunket is New Zealand’s leading provider of Well Child and family health services. Plunket programmes aim to support families with young children. Find out more about Plunket:
We do our best to avoid the hospital emergency room by taking all possible safety precautions and trying to keep our family members in good health. But sometimes, despite our best efforts and intentions, this just isn’t possible.
According to a recent study, children on the Autism Spectrum are nine times more likely to visit an emergency room than their neurotypical peers. And while no one enjoys the experience of going to the hospital, such visits can be especially traumatic for people with Autism or other cognitive challenges.
Here are some practical tips you can follow now that can make things go as smoothly as possible for your child with special needs, should the need to visit an emergency room arise in the future:
Read books to your child about visiting the hospital. Here are a few you may want to consider:
Maggie and the Emergency Room
Maggie and the Emergency Room provides tips on safety and injury prevention, as well as information about what happens in a hospital’s emergency room, highlight a look at Maggie’s trip to the ER after a bicycle accident, in a book developed by the American Medical Association.
My Trip To The Hospital
When Little Critter breaks his leg in a soccer game, he has to make his first trip to the hospital. Follow brave Little Critter as he rides in an ambulance, meets the doctor, and gets his first X-ray and his first cast. This book is written by renowned children’s author and illustrator Mercer Mayer.
Franklin Goes To The Hospital
Franklin’s shell has cracked, and he needs to be a brave turtle when it’s time to go to the hospital. This book is part of the “Franklin the Turtle” series written by Paulette Bourgeois.
2. Social Stories
Social Stories are an excellent way to help alleviate anxiety caused by the unknown and are therefore ideal in helping you prepare your child for a visit to the hospital. There are many social story apps available that enable you to create stories for your child that can easily be customized to his or her own unique reading and cognitive levels and the situations and healthcare facilities in which he or she may find himself.
I’d suggest taking pictures of the actual emergency department you would be most likely to visit and including them in your story. With some advanced notice, the hospital staff might be happy to accommodate you by giving you the opportunity to photograph their staff and various medical instruments and pieces of equipment like x-ray machines and gurneys. Using real photos is ideal in that they can most accurately convey to your child what a new environment really looks like well in advance of him actually being there.
3. Teach Hospital Language
For non-verbal children, provide augmentative communication vocabulary that is hospital-relevant so they can express themselves to the best of their ability. If you choose to make your own medical communication boards, you can find lots of visual symbols online by performing a Google search on the words “medical clip-art”.
4. Educate Hospital Workers
Approach your local hospital’s administration department ask them if they would be interested in introducing their clinical staff to The Hospital Communication Book, a free downloadable resource that provides clear and helpful advice for parents and medical personnel alike on how to communicate effectively with patients who have special needs.
5. Explain The Pain
Familiarize your child with the Faces Pain Scale. It can be an invaluable tool for your child not only in a hospital emergency room, but in pretty much any setting or situation. Take advantage of every opportunity you can to use it from a small bump on the knee to a painful stomachache, to familiarize him with how it works. Downloadable PDFs of the scale are available in many different languages.
6. Prepare Your Child for Blood Work
Check out this excellent parents’ guide entitled Taking the Work Out Of Blood Work: Helping Your Child With ASD, published by Autism Speaks. It is full of helpful tips and information. While the guide is geared to individuals on the Autism Spectrum, its use can easily extend to individuals who have other cognitive or developmental challenges.
7. Keep It Positive
Whenever you speak of doctors or hospitals with your child, talk about them in a favorable way, describing how they make people feel better.
8. Teaching Toys
Use play as a teaching tool. Buy a toy doctor’s kit and play “doctor” or “hospital” with your child from time to time. Pretend to listen to his heart and let him listen to yours. Have him practice staying super still for 10 seconds while he has a pretend x-ray. Use dolls or stuffed animals as the patient and medical personnel and go through all of the steps of visiting an emergency room from arrival – perhaps even by ambulance – to returning home.
Think about what favorite toys and activities you would grab and bring to the hospital with you to keep your child engaged while waiting or to distract him during moments of pain or discomfort.
9. Familiarize With Medical Equipment
Familiarize your child with what it feels like having various types of medical equipment used on him. If you can, purchase a real blood pressure cuff so your child can get accustomed to the strange sensation of it inflating around his arm. We have used a clothespin to simulate the slight pinching feeling associated with an oxygen monitor that gets put onto a patient’s finger.
10. Avoid The Temptation To Lie
Don’t tell your child a needle won’t hurt when you know it will. For example, if he is going to get a needle, explain that there will be an “ouch” but after he counts to five, the ouch will will be gone. Lying will only lead to you losing your credibility and his trust, making it that much more difficult to prepare him for other potentially difficult events and medical procedures in the future.
Maybe you’re finding it more difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Or, perhaps you notice that you’re not as social as you used to be. Whatever problems you’re facing, you might have tried to resolve them on your own or hoped that they would go away. But you’re still having problems and nothing you’ve tried has worked. If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time for you to see a psychologist. You may already have been referred or might be in the process of searching for one. It is common for people to be a little nervous about their first visit to a psychologist. However, you don’t have to let your anxiety prevent you from receiving help. Reviewing the answers to frequently asked questions may make your first visit a little easier.
How do I know if I should see a psychologist?
A good time to seek help from a psychologist is when you feel overwhelmed, can no longer cope on your own, and are motivated to work with a professional who can help you overcome your problems. Other signs include experiencing severe and persistent symptoms that interfere with your ability to function at work, home, school, or in social settings.
How can I find a psychologist?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there are currently approximately 85,000 licensed psychologists that practice in the United States. Psychologists who offer mental health services work in many different settings including private practice, hospitals, community health centers, schools, and colleges. There are several ways to locate a psychologist. You may want to ask a supportive friend or family member to recommend a psychologist. You can also get a referral from one of your medical doctors. Alternatively, you can search online. It may be helpful to use specific search terms that narrow your choices by location and the reason you are seeking treatment.
What type of training do psychologists have?
Psychologists typically have doctoral degrees (Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D.) and have obtained the highest level of training in their field. According to the APA, this means that in addition to their four years in college, psychologists also have an average of seven years of graduate training. Training involves coursework and years of practical experience treating patients under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Practical experience may refer to a practicum, an externship, an internship, or a postdoctoral fellowship. Licensed psychologists have passed a national exam that allows them to practice independently.
How can a psychologist help?
Psychologists help by providing psychotherapy which is also known as talk therapy. Psychotherapy most often takes place individually but may also include group therapy depending on the issues you want to work on. The specific techniques psychologists use to help you depend on their theoretical orientation – the type of therapy they are trained to practice. Two of the most popular types of therapy are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy. Regardless of a psychologist’s orientation, he or she will create a safe place for you to feel comfortable exploring self-defeating patterns of behavior. Your psychologist will work with you to develop healthy ways to cope with your problems so that you can achieve your goals and have more successful personal and professional relationships. Psychologists also provide psychological testing to gain more insight into barriers that may be preventing you from reaching your full potential. For example, someone might seek psychological testing to determine if he or she has a learning disability and would benefit from accommodations in college. In a few states, psychologists also prescribe medication in addition to offering psychotherapy and psychological testing. Does therapy work? Research studies have shown that therapy is effective in alleviating many problems. Sometimes, psychologists will also coordinate your treatment with other medical professionals to include medication. The key to successful therapy is a collaborative effort between you and your psychologist. Your psychologist will offer support and guidance, but you must do the work which includes open communication and a willingness to consider and practice more adaptive ways of dealing with life’s challenges.
What will happen during my first visit?
A typical visit or session usually lasts between 45 and 60 minutes. During the first meeting, your psychologist will probably ask you to complete some paperwork about your history. In order to determine the best way to help you, he or she will also ask you questions about your history and why you’re seeking treatment. Your first meeting is also an opportunity for you to determine if you believe the psychologist will be a good fit for you. You can do this by asking questions about the psychologist’s experience helping people overcome issues like the ones you are facing. If you and your psychologist agree to work together, your psychologist will explain how therapy will work and will set a schedule for you to meet consistently. There will also be time for you to ask questions. In some cases, the psychologist may offer you a referral to another psychologist who can provide you with more specialized treatment. Despite the stigma and anxiety that is sometimes associated with seeing a psychologist, it is important to seek help when you are overwhelmed and can no longer cope on your own. By seeking help, you have taken the first step towards achieving your goals and living a more fulfilling life. That is truly something to be proud of. The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only.
Tips for the next time you or a loved one is preparing to undergo surgery
Posted Dec 09, 2017
Within the next year, about 50 million people will undergo surgery in the United States. And with rare exceptions, all of these people — both adults and children — will suffer from anxiety beforehand. But what most people don’t consider are the deeper rooted psychological issues that can be caused by preoperative anxiety, an understated side effect that plays a critical role in the success or failure of surgery.
High levels of anxiety before surgery not only causes hardship on the day of the procedure, but also have a profound impact on a person’s recovery. Statistics show that 40 percent of all adults undergoing surgery experience high anxiety and adverse effects, both during and after the surgical event. While there is no doubt that medicine has advanced significantly over the past few decades, the challenge of high anxiety remains significant and, in fact, has even increased over time.
There are many reasons for this trend. One of the most significant is that health care today is driven by the bottom line. As a result, many hospital-based psychological preparation programs for people undergoing surgery have been eliminated.
We’re also experiencing a trend that encourages the merging of hospitals. This creates larger facilities that are less focused on the emotional well-being of patients. In addition, traditional social structures, such as family or friends, are eroding as a go-to source of support, despite a large body of research that points to their unparalleled benefits.
More than 50 years ago, psychologist Irving Janis conducted studies with Yale students that showed how increased anxiety before surgery is associated with delayed recovery after surgery. Since then, multiple studies have replicated these findings, reporting that the more anxiety a person experiences before surgery, the more pain medication a person requires after surgery, which often leads to a delayed discharge from the hospital. For some people, this preoperative fear can last for years and can impact their willingness to engage with any future medical encounter.
So how do we go about managing preoperative anxiety? Here are some tips for the next time you or a loved one is preparing to undergo surgery.
1. Learn as much as you can about the procedure using reliable medical sources — not random blogs. Many hospitals even offer YouTube videos for patients who are about to undergo common procedures, such as hip or knee replacement.
2. Prepare a list of questions and review the details with your medical provider. Generally speaking, studies show that the more information you have before surgery, the less anxious you will be at the time of the procedure.
3. Speak with your surgeon and anesthesiologist about the availability of medical drugs before surgery, such as Ativan or Midazolam (Benzodiazepines). Not everyone needs to take these sedatives, but it’s always nice to know they’re available.
4. When speaking with your anesthesiologist, be sure to understand your options for pain management after surgery, as planning is key for recovery.
5. Use guided imagery. There are ample sources on the web that instruct you on the use of guided imagery and various breathing techniques for anxiety. Practicing these methods can be extremely helpful before surgery.
6. Music is a wonderful tool that has proven to be highly effective. Rather than worrying in the holding area, listen to your favorite music.
7. Other techniques such as scent therapy, touch therapy, clown therapy, and pet therapy are commonly used as well. However, there is no consistent, valid scientific data that promotes these therapies on a routine basis.
8. Finally, I can’t overemphasize the importance of social support systems surrounding the surgical event. Friends and family are crucial throughout this time.
By Nancy Montgomery
You go to the hospital when you are sick or injured and need care. The last thing you expect is that the hospital will make you sicker. But for up to 10 percent of hospital patients, that’s exactly what happens.
It turns out that hospitals are a breeding ground for infections — many of which are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year about 1.7 million patients get a hospital acquired infection (HAI). Some sources, including RID, a not-for-profit organization founded to foster awareness and prevention of hospital infections, think the number is much higher. It notes that the instance of one particularly nasty hospital infection, MRSA, a superbug that resists antibiotics, has grown from fewer than 2,000 reported cases in 1993 to 368,000 in 2005. But no matter what number you go by, it is clear that HAIs are a serious problem. Hospitals are beginning to devote more resources to fighting HAIs, but meanwhile there are things you can do to help protect yourself.
What you can do
Sometimes it helps to be your own best advocate in health matters. But if you’re not feeling well enough to take charge, ask a trusted friend or relative to spend time in the hospital with you and be your advocate. Here are things you or your advocate should keep in mind:
Make sure doctors and nurses wash their hands before examining you — and don’t be afraid to remind them if they don’t. The CDC cites hand washing as the single most effective way to control the spread of disease.
Wash your own hands carefully after using the bathroom or handling soiled materials: Scrub for at least 15 seconds with warm, soapy water.
If you’re receiving fluids through an intravenous catheter, let your nurse know if the dressing around it becomes wet or soiled.
Infections from urinary catheters are common, so these dressings should be clean and dry, and the catheter should not remain in longer than necessary.
Keep an eye on wound dressings and drainage tubes, and let your nurse know if they become loose or wet.
Ask friends and family not to visit if they’re feeling ill.
If you need surgery and are overweight, losing a few pounds before you go in the hospital can help reduce your risk of post-surgery infection.
If you have diabetes, keep a sharp eye on your blood sugar. High blood sugar increases your risk of infection. Work with your doctor to control your blood sugar before, during, and after your hospital stay.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Understanding your treatment plan will make it easier for you to be involved in your own recovery.
If you smoke, there’s no better time to stop. Smoking can increase your risk of developing a lung infection and may hamper your healing abilities.
Trying to take steps to stay as healthy as possible while you’re in the hospital may seem like a challenge when you’re not feeling your best. But remember that you are an important part of your medical team, and whatever you can do to speed the healing process — and prevent infections — is definitely worth the effort.
How Many Infections: What You Need to Know About Hospital Infections. Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths.
Frequently Asked Questions. How widespread is the problem of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs)? National Conference of State Legislatures.
Preventing Infections in the Hospital What You as a Patient Can Do. National Patient Safety Foundation.
Why is handwashing important? CDC Division of Media Relations. March 6, 2000.
Richard Sim, RN, MBA. Facts on Hospital Infections. Infectionctrl-Online.
Terri Whitmore-Howard, MT, MPH, CIC. Hospitals take aim at staph, other infections. The Oak Ridger. Last updated August 7, 2002.
Hospital Infections Statistics. AskLynnRn.
Centers for Disease Control. Estimates of Healthcare-Associated Infections. May 2007.
Articles On Chemotherapy for Cancer
Chemotherapy for Cancer
Chemotherapy for Cancer – Checklist: Prepare to Go Home Before You Go In
- Chemotherapy Drugs
- How to Take Chemo Drugs
- Antimetabolite Drugs
- Prepare Your Home for Chemo
- Chemotherapy Checklist
- Get Organized for Chemotherapy
- Online Help for Chemo
- Surprising Facts About Chemo
- When Your Chemotherapy Changes
A chemotherapy session may take only a few hours, but you might have side effects for days or weeks afterward. To make your life easier and more comfortable as you recover, think about how youвЂ™ll take care of yourself at home before you go in for treatment.
1. Ask someone to drive you to and from treatments. You might feel fine after a session, or you could feel tired and unsafe behind the wheel. It also helps to have a friend or family member with you for emotional support.
2. Talk with your employer. Some people schedule chemotherapy around their work hours,В Many others find that they need time offВ both for the treatment appointments and in the days or weeks after. Know your options and your rights. The law requires many companies to give their employees time off for chemotherapy. See if your boss will be flexible with you until you know how you’ll feel.
3. Clear your schedule. Don’t plan to go to any events or do activities in the hours after chemo. You might just want to go home and take a nap or relax. You may feel very tired the day after a sessionВ as well.
4. Arrange for help with meals and child care. It might be tough to cook dinner or take care of the kids if you’re dealing with side effects like fatigue or nausea. Loved ones can help by cooking and freezing meals for your family ahead of time, volunteering to baby-sit, running errands, or just lending a hand around the house.
5. Learn how to handle waste. In the 48 hours after treatment, small amounts of chemotherapy drugs will leave your body through urine, vomit, and other body fluids. It’s important to keep these chemicals away from yourself and others in your home. Ask your doctor ahead of time how you should handle laundry or other items that might get dirty. Also ask what precautions you should take when you use the toilet or if you get sick.
6. Visit the dentist. Mouth sores are a common side effect, so it’s smart to get dental work or cleanings before you start your sessions. You should also ask about good oral care during chemo, like brushing with a soft toothbrush and using an alcohol-free mouth rinse.
7. Stock up on healthy groceries. Staying hydrated can ease some side effects.В So have plenty of low-calorie drinks on hand. You might also want to buy frozen meals or sign up for a meal delivery service for the days you don’t feel like cooking. Also, keep a mix of fruits, vegetables, and high-protein snacks like yogurt on hand.
8. Consider buying a wig. You might lose your hair, so think about whether you’ll want to wear a wig, a hat, or a scarf until it grows back. If you shop for a wig before you start treatments, you’ll have more energy.В Plus you’ll be able to better match your hair’s natural color and texture. You can also cut your hair short before chemo starts. It might be less of a shock to lose short hair, and these styles will grow back quicker.
9. Plan for pet care. Some drugs raise your chance of having infections, so you should avoid picking up dog waste or cleaning litter boxes, bird cages, and fish tanks. Ask your doctor how you can stay safe around your pets, and wash your hands after touching any animals.
10. Plan for safe sex. You or your partner should not get pregnant while you’re having treatment, since chemotherapy drugs can damage sperm and cause birth defects. The drugs can also stay in semen and vaginal fluids, so even if you take birth control pills, you should use condoms. Talk to your doctor about how long you should take precautions.
Joan Kramer, MD, medical editor, American Cancer Society.
National Cancer Institute: “Chemotherapy and You.”
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center: “After Chemotherapy.”
American Cancer Society: “A Guide to Chemotherapy.”
University of California San Francisco Medical Center: “Coping with Chemotherapy.”
National Cancer Institute: “Eating Hints Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment.”
University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: “Chemotherapy: What Can Be Done About Side Effects?”
В MD Anderson Cancer Center: “Sexuality & Cancer.”
Thanks to Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. for starting this kindness campaign and sponsoring this post.
As a blogger I get to participate in a ton of amazing campaigns but my favorites are ones that let me give back to my community. I was asked if I wanted to join a “spread kindness” initiative to create a gift basket for a cancer patient and I’m happy to be participating. Getting a cancer diagnosis is devastating so making them a gift basket is just a small gesture we can do to show that we care and want to help them get through this difficult time.
Before I created my gift basket I looked online at what items were best to include. At the store I bought cancer fighting foods along with some items to help with self-care and stress-relief and created my basket to give to a cancer patient.
Today I’m sharing what I included in my gift basket. I hope that it gives you ideas if you want to create your own gift basket for someone who has cancer or is going through chemo.
The first item I put in the basket was a beautiful, warm blanket to keep the patient warm. Hospital blankets are so scratchy and this nice blanket can bring a bit of home into the hospital.
Fruits & Veggies
Fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the best cancer fighting foods you can give a cancer patient. I put together a bag of items including spinach, apples, oranges, tomatoes and carrots.
Healthy Meal Starters
I included an organic soup for a quick lunch option. Beans and quinoa are great starters for healthy dinners.
Snacks & Vitamins
Everyone needs snacks and I included some delicious ones that have health benefits as well, like dark chocolate, nuts and fruit strips. I also added Vitamin C gummies, a protein powder, and honey, a natural sweetener.
Staying stress free is essential so I wanted to include some items to help the cancer patient relax. I put an adult coloring book and colored pencils in the basket along with some candles they could light and some stress relief tea to sip.
In the basket I included some things to pamper them like healing lotion, epson salt crystals for a bath, and Chapstick for dry lips. I added slippers with no-slip bottoms and a pretty head scarf as well.
Want more ideas of things to include in your gift basket? Get more ideas here.
The best part about putting the basket together was getting my kids involved. Kindness is one of the most important qualities that someone can possess and something I want my kids to learn at an early age. I want them to make it their purpose in life to do nice things for people and put smiles on the faces of others. Having lost their grandma to cancer a few years back, this campaign is really a special one for them to help with and I’m happy they could help me make and donate the basket.
Along with creating a gift basket you can bring a home cooked meal, offer to help watch children or pets, hire a cleaning service to help them around their house, pamper them by painting their nails or just lend a listening ear.
I hope you will join me in spreading kindness this year! Tag me on social media with a picture of your basket if you join in and bring a basket to someone. Also, if you have any other ideas of items to include in the gift basket please share in the comments below. Together we can bring a smile to the face of others 🙂
Hospitals are amazing microcosms of human life. In hospitals, life begins and often is the place where life ends. Healing happens for some, while others lose hope and decide restoration is joke. Therefore, when attempting to interpret a dream containing a symbol as rich with meaning as a hospital, emotions and associations should be your starting point.
How do You Feel About Hospitals?
Do you work at a hospital? If yes, then your dream may simply be an anxiety dream, or worry about pushing yourself too hard, or it may be a way of processing the day’s events.
Do you think fondly of hospitals? It sounds like a strange question, but if one’s only experience with a hospital is the place where one’s child was born, or where someone you loved was restored to health or rescued in some way and given a new lease on life, your association of hospitals is going to involved restoration, birth, and recovery.
Do hospitals completely freak you out? If so, why? Is your fear trauma related, or death related, or were you placed in a hospital as a child? Did you go to hospital for surgery? Do you think of hospitals as the last stop on life’s track? If your associations with hospitals are frightening, then they are more than likely going to be frighten symbols in your dreams.
Possible Interpretations of Hospitals in Dreams
Depending on how you answered the questions above, that is, depending on your associations with hospitals and the feelings that accompany your associations, your hospital may mean any number of things! A few ideas are below:
Sickness and Rest
If you are dreaming of being in a hospital or if you are dreaming that someone you love is in a hospital, this can be an indication they you are feeling ill, overwhelmed, and in need of someone to take care of you for a change. Even dreams of another person can still be a dream about your state as “others” in dreams are often simply aspects of ourselves. Alternatively, if you are taking care of someone in a hospital, the dream may be a way of processing your feelings about the situation. Either way, the message is clear: you need a rest, you need some time to yourself, and you need to take care of yourself, even if you have to do it without a nurse!
What is the action in the hospital? Are you awake, are you functioning? Have you been experiencing some stress in waking life? If so, your hospital dream may actually be a sign that you have taking care of yourself, dealt with your illness, given yourself a break and are ready to head home.
Fear and Powerlessness
One of the most common sources of fear is fear of the unknown. Ranking right up there is having complete lack of control. When we go to hospital, be it for ourselves, or someone else, once we get in the door we know that there is nothing left to do but what, wait, hope, and pray. We have to pray that the doctor knows his craft. If you are dreaming about hospitals, ask yourself if there is some part of your life over which you feel helpless–decide if this is a true statement is that you have voluntarily handed your life over to someone else. Ask your self why? The answer may be shocking.
Until next time, sleep well and dream out loud!
* is an ordained Spiritual Counselor providing dream interpretation and Tarot readings. To make an appointment check out her website at:
Below are links to two of Barbara Walker’s books. Both have interesting information about god/desses, mythology, and symbols. I use both frequently to help interpret symbols in my own dreams!
Content copyright © 2019 by Aisling Ireland. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Aisling Ireland. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lori Chidori Phillips for details.
Whether you’re clashing with your mother-in-law or your labor and delivery nurse, it’s okay to ask someone to leave! Here’s how.
Imagine this: You’re in labor, and it’s going perfectly. Your carefully typed birth plan has been safely deposited in the hands of your nurse, your giving-birth playlist is playing in the background, and you’re weathering your contractions like a pro.
Then an unwanted visitor shows up in your delivery room. And doesn’t want to leave.
What’s a mama-to-be to do? If that uncomfortable moment arrives, remember this handy “how to kick someone out of the delivery room” guide:
Prepare ahead of time. If you can, plan who will be with you during your labor and delivery before you leave for the hospital or birth center. Find out how many people can be in the delivery room, and talk to your partner and any family or friends who you want to be with you. Labor and delivery can be a difficult and lengthy process, so don’t feel guilty for not wanting a lot of visitors. Stick to something simple, like: “We’re planning to have a private delivery” to avoid hurt feelings from other family members.
Rely on your health-care team. Your labor and delivery nurse will be your number-one resource when it comes to ensuring that the only people in your delivery room are the ones you want to be there. Whether you prep her in advance that she’ll need to play referee or you decide as you’re pushing that Grandma needs to go, she’ll be more than happy to comply. Your ob-gyn can do the dirty work, too. “I’m always happy to be ‘the bad guy’ and ask someone to leave,” says M. Kathryn Buchanan, M.D., an ob-gyn with MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore. “Because I’m focused on your comfort and experience, I am not worried about offending someone.” Don’t hesitate at any time to ask the health-care staff if you’d like someone removed from the delivery room — and don’t feel guilty about it, either. After all, you’re not going to labor well if there’s someone in the room making you uncomfortable, says Tina Alessi, a certified nurse-midwife at Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, New Jersey.
Don’t feel intimated. It’s all well and good to control which family and friends remain with you during the labor and delivery process, but what happens if you run into complications with the staff? The truth is, labor and delivery nurses, doctors, and midwives are all people with unique personalities — and sometimes patients and staff clash. If that happens, there are a few things you can do:
1) Speak with the manager of the unit. If you’ve got a particular problem with a nurse, you or your partner should ask to speak to the manger of the unit. Be brief, courteous, and clear about what you want — outline the problem at hand and, if it’s your wish, ask if another nurse can be transferred to your care. “Patients have the right to feel comfortable with their care providers,” says Lisa Allen, D.O., ob-gyn at Lapeer Obstetrics and Gynecology in Lapeer, Michigan.
2) Get recommendations ahead of time. One great way to avoid any awkward encounters with staff during your labor is to get recommendations from fellow new moms. If they gush about a certain labor and delivery nurse, find out her name and specifically request her when you check into the labor and delivery unit.
3) Just say no. Laboring at a teaching hospital? Know this: You have the right to refuse students or residents in your room. Not everyone minds, of course, but if you’re uncomfortable having a gaggle of students in your room, speak up. (Students won’t take it personally — it’s just a part of their education in patient rights.)
Know your rights. In some instances, a mother-to-be may have a complicated relationship with her baby’s father, and it can be helpful for her to know her rights on delivery day. In a recent ruling, a New Jersey judge stated that a mother has the right to ban her baby’s biological father from the delivery room. If you’re concerned that your situation might warrant legal interference, investigate your state’s rights and hospital policies ahead of time.
Make a postbirth plan. If your family members are hurt that they’re not invited to — or have been kicked out of — the delivery room, remind them that they’ll have lots of time to visit you and your newborn after the birth. Let them know the hospital or birth center’s visiting hours, and ask them to come back at a specific time. And if you’re still worried about unwelcome guests postdelivery, tell them that most hospitals have a mandated one-hour postbirth recovery time, when no one will be allowed in the room.
All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.
December 24th, 2015 |
Hospital time can be monotonous. Here are some creative tips to help time seem less sluggish during your stay.
It’s not everyday you get to stay in the hospital, and most hospitals are far from luxurious. However everyone at some point in their lifetime spends at least one visit in the hospital, whether it be surgery, illness, or cancer treatment. Let’s face it-hospital time is boring. Time seems to move very slowly. What are some tips to help the time pass?
I have done my share of time in the hospital after being diagnosed with placental cancer, choriocarcinoma, from a complete molar pregnancy. Every other week was inpatient chemotherapy and I got to know those hospital walls very well. Watching television eventually got boring. I found myself beginning to ponder over things I could actually accomplish in this down-time. What were some things that needed to get done or things wanted to do?
1. Pack a chemo bag, with:
snacks, sanitizers, tissues, clothes, and masks.
puzzles, paper and pen for owed letters to family or friends, reading materials and books, tablet with charger, and a list of things to search or videos to watch via internet over the hospital wifi.
I even found in my bag bills and other materials that needed attention or research, normally taken care of if at home. My chemo bag was a mini office. During this downtime, why not take care of business like emails and replies? The world doesn’t stop on account of injury or sickness.
2. Pick up a new hobby.
Other ideas to help eat up time include crafts and hobbies such as knitting, crocheting, coloring, board games, playing cards, and creative writing. Is there something that needs to be finished? Is there some craft you’ve always wanted to try? Now just might be the time to take it up.
3. Get Moving.
If you’re able, take a stroll down the hospital halls, visiting the nurses’ station. Most nurses are happy to have a chat and even happier to see their patients walking around. If you’re lucky enough to have a room window, sit by it for a glimpse of the outside world. I’ve spent many hours watching the world go by, seeing people come and go, even watching a bird try to nest on my window ledge.
4. Decorate your room.
There are a lot of fun and creative banners from retailers that you can purchase to make your room come alive. One DIY solution would be to simply take a clothesline or piece of string, attach it to each wall end, and hang up photographs and artwork that you love by using clothespins.
5. Set up a netflix account.
Do not underestimate the variety of titles that netflix has streaming. Get hooked on a new series, or watch a documentary and learn something you’ve never known before. And it doesn’t limit to netflix- you can set up an HBOGo account, Hulu, or any others that catch your interest!
6. Talk to others.
You don’t have to be physically capable of walking around the entire hospital in order to talk to someone else. Anyone who passes by, or who you encounter on a regular basis, is a chance to learn about someone new. And this isn’t limited to face-to-face interaction. Connecting online with others like you is made easy with online communities, like
What kind of tips for staying entertained in the hospital do you have? Share yours in the comments below!