- What is the situation or problem? Helping the patient to realize the need for family and friends during a crisis.
- Why does it matter? People really do need people.
- How do you engage in healthy conversations about it?
One word of caution here. When you visit sick people, leave the patient smiling rather than leaving the patient trying to figure out why you came by in the first place. Here are some helpful hints on making a visit that I learned in my illness:
We who VISIT should be careful when visiting. We need to know if one cannot have visitors, does not desire visitors, whether he has a contagious illness, or if the hospital stay is brief for only a day or so.
- Be Alert – Don’t take it for granted that somebody else is going to see people who need and should have a visit.
- Be Selective – Pick out those who need a visit with prayer.
- Be Dependable – Set aside a couple of hours to visit every week. The same time each week is great because it will become a part of your weekly routine.
- Be Thoughtful – Give a little thought as to who you are about to visit. Structure your visit for that individual. Pray about the visit. Be mindful of your words. Many people with cancer still don’t like to hear that word.
- Be Positive – If you visit many that are sick in one day, don’t bring the problems of prior visits to people you have visited to that individual you are visiting at the time. If that person asks about another’s condition, then feel free to share the requested information, being careful not to betray any confidences or reveal anything that that person might not wish revealed.
- Be Sanitary – Wash your hands thoroughly when going from patient to patient. Don’t go visit someone if you are not feeling well; you don’t want to give them new germs.
- Be Nice – Carry some HONEY. Oh, not really honey that bees make, although that is nature’s most perfect food. But you know, something nice, warm, and sweet. A little pocket angel is one thing that is usually received well. Christian bookstores have many suggestions.
- Ask Patients if They Desire Prayer – Ask the patient if they would like to be a part of a prayer. It is one thing for you to tell someone that you are remembering them in prayer, but to pause and have an optimistic prayer on the spot to get the sick person through the day and through those long-dreaded nights is wonderful. Carefully think about what you are saying in the prayer and don’t say one that sounds like it is the usual prayer offered. Oh, how sweet were the prayers from children on my behalf. Only love is shown.
- Be Aware – Be very conscious about the amount of time you spend with a sick person. The bodily functions usually come on a regular basis because of the IVs given to the patient.
- Be Careful of Small-Talk – Incessant chatter is not comforting! Please don’t tell a person how he really looks since beauty is in the eyes of the beholder! Also, please don’t tell them that they look good when they have had the very life stomped out of them in surgery. Be willing to just sit with the patient without conversation.
- Don’t Apologize for Not Coming Sooner – The patient probably can’t handle your guilt and his too. The important thing is that you are there now.
- Don’t Worry – Sometimes people put off a visit because so much time has passed since the person became ill. Don’t worry about it; that person probably needs a visit now in the worst way.
To conclude, PLEASE don’t let the trivial, though urgent, things get in the way of making that visit.
- What things get in the way of our taking opportunities to visit those who need encouragement?
- How can we learn to be tactful in our care for another person?