Click this link for the other days in the 31 DAYS OF CARE TAKING: ONE DAY AT A TIME.
As a nurse, I have seen the power of encouragement when a friend or relative comes to visit and thinks of the sick person or their family member. Sometimes they bring an appropriate gift. Often they come with encouraging words and stay just long enough to bring encouragement, not too long so that they wear the person out. Sometimes they come to visit the caretaker and encourage them while the sick patient is asleep.I have seen the power of encouragement when a friend comes to visit and thinks of the sick person. Click To Tweet
Other times, I have seen patients visited by people who seem totally unaware of the fact that this person is in the hospital for a reason! They are sick, often in pain. They are not there to listen to horror stories of your past hospital stays or illnesses. That is for another time and another place…maybe. I can’t think of an appropriate time or place, however. They have enough to think about!
We are told to visit those who are sick, but there is a mindset we need to have when we do it. We are there to serve them. We aren’t there for ourselves. When we go to visit, we need to pay attention to the setting. When we walk into the room, is it already full of other visitors? If so, this is the time to give a short greeting, maybe a hug, and leave.
Brief is always better than staying too long
If the family wants to visit with you, one of them may walk outside the room and visit in the hall or it may be that some of the visitors that have been there awhile will decide it is time for them to leave. There is a reason why hospital rooms have so few chairs. The rooms are small and don’t have space for a lot of visitors. The more visitors there are, the noisier and more confusing it is for the patient.
A general rule of thumb is to keep visits short and sweet unless you are doing something specific that the family asked you to do to help out in the room such as sit with the patient while one of them is taking a break, come do her nails, read her a book, play a game with her, etc.
I know I keep harping on visits and visitors, but I have seen patients allow themselves to get very uncomfortable when they need to go to the bathroom because they are too embarrassed to ask for help to go to the bathroom when visitors are there. The same goes for asking for pain medication. If they don’t have a family member present who is more sensitive or aware, they can get very uncomfortable if they embarrass easily in front of company. It’s something we visitors need to be aware of.
The depth of your friendship also plays a role here. Are you friends with the sick person or their caretaker? If you are superficial friends, you will want to stay a very short time unless asked to stay longer. If you are long-term, close friends, you may be able to be blunter with each other and play it by ear.
What about the content of the visit?
Try to keep your visit upbeat. This person and their family have enough problems now. They don’t need a rehearsal of all the other sick people in your church, the recent deaths, all the bad news in the world happening now, and horror stories you have heard from similar illnesses or hospitalizations. Keep all that information to yourself. You have no idea what kind of information they have been given from their doctor. They have enough to carry. They don’t need any bad news. If they ask about specific people, that is another story.The purpose of your visit is to encourage, pray with them and give them hope for the day. Click To Tweet
The purpose of your visit is to encourage, pray with them and give them hope for the day.
Ask permission to read Scripture and read something appropriate to their situation. Also, ask if you could lead in prayer. Be very encouraging and hopeful about GOD’s love and care for them, His grace during hard times, etc. There are many wonderful, encouraging passages along those lines both for the sick person and the caregiver. You want them to wish you had stayed longer when you leave, not wish you had left long ago.
For many of us inside the church community, asking permission to read the Bible and pray aloud seems odd, but it is simply showing respect to all those present. It is always good to respect others and their wishes. This is especially true when people are “trapped” in a hospital where their power is taken from them. Not everyone handles this loss of power well. During times of illness, some people feel the need to talk to GOD and want to hear from Him and be prayed for. Others struggle and feel ambivalent about aspects of their faith.
During times of illness, some people feel the need to talk to GOD and want to hear from Him and be prayed for. Others struggle and feel ambivalent about aspects of their faith. Having someone there who is upbeat, can be hopeful.
Ask if they have any needs you can help them with…and follow up with whatever their request is to be sure it is done…even if you weren’t able to do it yourself, be sure it was taken care of.
Much of what I discussed can be applied to home visits as well as hospital visits with the main exception being that you will definitely want to call ahead of time if you visit at home.
See you tomorrow!
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this:
to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,
and to keep oneself unstained from the world.James 1:27I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you,
as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,
you did it to me.’Matthew 25:36-40