Hospital stays can be very disconcerting and this past week I found myself navigating the hospital system when my sweet mama had an unexpected stay. While I am no expert on hospitals I did come away with a few pointers that I thought I would share that might help one of my readers sometime down the road if they found themselves in a similar position. The hospital inventories each item the patient has upon arrival. My sister and I took my mom’s clothes home to wash them and did not tell the nurse. She was baffled when she was getting my mom ready to go home and there were no clothes. I had clean clothes in my car for her but had not communicated that that was what we had done so the poor thing was wondering how they disappeared. Lesson learned—don’t take something that has been inventoried.
This applies to everything from patient care to where things are within the hospital. It just makes it easier to ask someone or multiple someones to avoid confusion.
Most nurses and aids will offer warm blankets automatically but if not just ask if your loved one is chilly. Sometimes they will also offer to the family if your lips are turning blue. 🙂
If you are directionally challenged like me this makes it much easier to find your car especially if you are going out into the parking lot at night. Find a well lit area and park in the same spot each trip . Take a picture on your phone of the area if there are signs that are helpful for locating your car.
This helps not only the patient but the visitors. Hospital time is not real time for some reason. The days run into each other and it helps to see the day and date posted if the hospital does not do it already.
There are times when you just need a get away place. This can be when the patient is being attended to by nurses, in surgery or sleeping. It helps to know where a place of quiet and refuge can be found.
Just like the warm blankets a good sweater or sweatshirt is a must. Just don’t forget to take it with you when you leave.
With all the poking and prodding that goes on in hospitals sleep is elusive. If your loved one is sleeping let them sleep. They will thank you for that.
Everyone wants to see the patient and be assured that they are okay but it can be very tiring. Help ensure that visits are short and as non stressful as possible.
Social media is a great way to let our friends know what is going on but use it cautiously. Don’t give too much information in public places especially if you have not talked to the patient about it Posting that your loved one could use some prayers or good thoughts in a vague way is sometimes more helpful and safer than posting every single detail.
We found out that vending machines do not always work. Try to have a variety of bills and change in your possession if you want to use the machines. One we found did not like our bills but would take change. It is frustrating when they don’t work the way they should and usually that is the last thing to think about when a hospital situation arises but if you can be prepared it will help.
This is just a short list of simple things that we discovered this week. Hospital visits can be scary and frustrating but hopefully the tips here will help with your next visit to the hospital.
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As someone who has unfortunately navigated a lot of hospital visits for loved ones these are all great tips! When visiting with kids it’s especially important to limit what you bring in. Sometimes there are multiple waiting room changes in a day and hauling your stuff around becomes a chore!
With my last pregnancy I walked in with nothing, assuming I’d be sent home with false labor; turns out it wasn’t false labor, I survived just fine without the bags I had packed.
Another tip: Bring a cell phone charger. Sometimes the nurses station has them, but it’s a safe bet to bring your own.
Oh yes—the cell phone charger is such a great addition! I love when I do these types of posts that everyone has some great additions. I always have one in my purse so I didn’t think about it but yes–a million times yes because we HAVE to be connected! 🙂 Thanks, Quincey!
Great tips! I often times think that there is too much information given through social media. I don’t think most patients want every detail about every lab posted online. Heated blankets are great, one of the best inventions for patients in the hospital, ever!
Having been in many hospitals for various family members I can emphatically say that all hospitals are FREEZING! 🙂
These are all great tips and I can relate to many of them.
Thanks for sharing Beth. All things we might not think of but are very helpful.
Having been through this with my mom a couple of years ago, I agree with all the tips. Ask lots and lots of questions. Your loved one may not be in a state to ask questions or like my dear mom, just doesn´t like asking. I am sure the staff got annoyed at all my questions but it was necessary. Finding a place to get away for you is another must. I trust your mom is feeling better. Sending hugs.
Thanks, Darlene. It is such a feeling of helplessness sometimes when a loved one is hospitalized. My mom is back home now but we are worried about her and trying to put some things into place to make sure that she stays safe and can be as independent as possible.
As someone who has spent hours, days, and months of time visiting people in the hospital, I have two things to add.
First, I want to second the idea of keeping visits short or at least having quiet time. Families who camp out in the room having reunions are exhausting for the patient. Visits should be no more than an hour for most folks. If you feel you need to be there all day, take something to read and have enforced quiet hours with no talking in the room. A loved one who is disoriented will enjoy seeing a familiar face but needs to know it is okay to sleep.
Second, tell the pastor of the church. Most people love visits from the pastor and most pastors are good about hospital visitation. The prayer a pastor offers can be a great blessing. But hospitals can’t call the church – only the family can inform the pastor.
Thanks for the great tips.
Oh shoot—I had that one written down and totally left it off so thanks for reminding me about contacting the church/pastor! Perfect one. You are an expert when it comes to this subject!
Calling the pastor is a great idea. It was the first thing I did for my mom and she really appreciated it. Also, if the hospital changes rooms for the patient. It is up to family members to let the pastor (or another spiritual leader) know. We learned that the hard way.
Great advice, thanks! On the related tip, I always bring stuff to read, both for me and for my loved one… 🙂
Fantastic tips!! Thanks for sharing!!
Thanks for these great tips! I agree that we often see way more information shared on-line than needed about our loved ones. Your tip about keeping it general and asking for support is good. The idea of finding a place to which one can escape to recenter is extremely important. All great words of wisdom!
Thanks so much for your input, Jenny. I appreciate your thoughts . Most of it is just common sense but I find that ta lot of people just don’t have common sense anymore. 🙂
It seems when you are under duress, common sense flys out the window! A list like this is always helpful.
I haven’t been to the hospital very much at all, and I’m worried for an upcoming surgery my wife is scheduled for. We spent a long time choosing the hospital, and now I’m just trying to make sure I know what to do and what to bring. I wasn’t aware that hospitals had chapels or rooftop gardens, but I’ll be sure to find those so I can find a quiet space during the surgery.