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Don't Do this When You Visit the Hospital

Updated: May 1, 2019


Hospital Etiquette 101 It may be emotionally difficult to see someone we care about in the hospital, but it is very important that you visit because this has a very positive influence on their recovery. Knowing some hospital etiquette and bearing gifts can give you the confidence to go visit. If you are not sure, make sure to ask for permission before you visit.

7 Things to Avoid Doing

When You Go Visit Family in the Hospital

  1. Don’t visit if you are sick. Many people in the hospital are immunocompromised because their bodies are busy healing and fighting off illnesses. It is very important that you only visit if you are feeling well. If you have symptoms like a cough, runny nose, rash or even diarrhea, don't visit.

  2. Don’t bring young children. Many hospitals have a no children policy, so make sure you check before you go. When dealing with contagious patients, don’t take children under 13 to visit a patient because their immune systems aren’t as strong as adults, making them susceptible to germs from sick and contagious patients

  3. Wash your hands when you come in the room. Infections can some from almost any source, (TV, Phone, door handles) and can survive for days on the surface. The last thing you want to do is make someone who is sick even sicker than they already are.

  4. Turn off your cell phone ringer. When you are visiting, turn the ringer of your cell phone to show the patient that you are there for them and give them your full attention.

  5. Ask before bringing fresh flowers, foods, plants, or fruit. Infection control is crucial for patients who are very sick and do not have a strong immune system Fresh flowers, plants and fruits can carry fungal spores that can infect sick patients. Call the unit ahead of time to see what is appropriate to bring

  6. Bring an alternative gift. Boredom bag with books and magazines, drawing from a child, and new slippers are all good options.

  7. 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. Unhealthy food is off the table, because many patients need to stick to strict diets

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