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5 Ways Visitors Can Reduce Agitation and Stress during a Hospital Stay

Hospital stays are usually a stressful time for both patients and their family members. The reason and severity of the stay is normally the main cause of stress while it may also be due to the financial burden of medical expenses, prescriptions, and after care. Hospital stays tend to leave patients feeling both mentally and physically vulnerable; it is important to relieve some of the vulnerability and make your loved one feel as comfortable as possible. Whether you are visiting someone in the hospital or you are the one being visited, try to remain positive and in good spirits throughout this visit.

Whether the hospital stay is minor or major, no one likes to be away from their natural environment. Here are 5 tips to consider when visiting someone who is ill:

  1. Ask for permission to visit – While you might assume your loved one wants visitors while they are in the hospital, always verify with them beforehand. Some patients prefer to not be seen while they are feeling ill, on high doses of medication, or simply not at their best. Others may feel comfortable in any setting as long as their family and friends surround them. Each person and each situation is different, verification is important. If you are welcomed to visit and begin to feel as if you are intruding or making them feel uncomfortable, ask if another day would better suit them.
  2. Remain positive – Though your anxiety may be through the roof depending on the severity of their illness or how long they have been admitted, always remain calm and collected. Distracting your loved one from their illness will only make your visit that much more delightful. It is important to remember that some people are sensitive to body language. An overly stressed visitor can trigger a stressed patient which can lead to unnecessary complications down the road.
  3. Keep your visit short – One key thing to remember is that your loved one needs plenty of rest, no matter how much they may enjoy your company. Letting them know they are in your thoughts does not mean that you need to spend every second of visiting hours with them. The fact that you have taken the time to visit them is what matters most to them, not the length of your stay.
  4. Don’t visit when you feel ill – Hospitals are designed to make sick patients feel better; while you cannot choose the timing of your loved ones illness, if you yourself are feeling sick it is best to stay home until you are better. Patients in hospitals often have compromised immune systems making it easier for them to catch sicknesses faster. Consider giving them a phone call or video chatting with them in substitution to visiting, allowing you both to recover. Once they have been discharged home and you are in tip-top shape, maybe schedule a coffee meeting or movie night to catch up.
  5. Get involved in your loved one’s treatment – Familiarize yourself with your loved ones condition, symptoms, and aftercare. Especially if you are their main caregiver, be sure you listen and jot down every detail from their doctor about their upcoming treatment. While this enlightens you to offer the best assistance you can, it also reminds your loved one that they are not alone and have a support system to help them get better.
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