Diagnosed: How To Score High On The Hospital Visitor Charts

lamp on trunk roses friends listen meme

How would you be diagnosed?

Are you the friend who makes everyone happier when you visit the hospital, or would you be diagnosed below the curve on the charts of Hospital Visitor Etiquette?

Are you the visitor who leaves the patient relaxing on the pillow and smiling when you leave, or does she heave a sigh of relief and ask the nurse to shut her room door when you finally disappear into the elevator?

Can the nurses find a spot on the patient’s table to place her supplies, or is every single horizontal space cluttered with flowers, fruit, and other things the patient can only lay there and watch wilt and fade?  Nurse tries to nudge a vase to the left, and starts an avalanche of papers, florist water gone green, desiccating leaves and half empty juice cups.  Not pretty.

When my mother-in-law was in the hospital, her doctor banned flowers, because “they suck oxygen out of the room and slow the healing process.”  Overkill, of course.  I think he was simply fed up with not finding space for his IPad.

After all, it wasn’t about him.  The lack of oxygen was no concern for her, because getting flowers is a huge part of her love language.  And feeling loved and cared for is so important when someone is ill.


Get well soon quote for friend illness sickness suffering
Image Source WishesMessages.com


When a patient is happy, they heal faster.

The heart of the matter is that it is the heart that matters. To have optimal cardiovascular health, your emotional and spiritual heart is just as important as your physical heart, and care must be given to all aspects of this vital organ.  

Dr. Cynthia Thaik

Dr. Thaik used scientific words for her conclusions in an article in The Huffington Post.

Words like “…instantaneous cascade of hundreds, if not thousands, of neuropeptides…” and “…production in your brain of norepinephrine and dopamine…”

If love is science,

how can you be a good practitioner for healing in the hospital?

  • A get-well card is number one!  Bring this one, or this!
  • Bring a gift.  Yes, even flowers, if you know the patient really loves to get flowers.  Promote happiness for all involved by taking the time to replace ugly water in vases already there, trash older wilting bouquets to make room for new, after you ask permission of the patient in a way that they can’t say no.  (Some people find it hard to throw away a gift.)  While pretty flowers are health inducing, faded, stinky flowers are not.
  • Bring a book or magazine.  Time moves so slowly when the highlight of your day is the nurse’s chatter as she checks your vitals.
  • If the patient is up to it, bring goodies.  Besides the books and magazines, add little packages of favorite snacks; chocolate; cute non-slip socks; luxury lotions and soaps… use your imagination.
  • Bring a pretty basket for the accumulation of cards.  While notes and well-wishes are important, it’s also important to have a clutter-free space while keeping them nearby.  The nurses will thank you.
  • Love your patient:  Don’t stay too long; stay long enough; come! (Some people don’t like hospitals, and their sick friends feel forgotten); keep the noise at manageable levels; leave the kids at home or bring them in one at a time.
  • If you can’t handle going to visit in the hospital, send a card and tell your patient you mowed her lawn or brought in the newspapers or watered her plants.  Do something for her.
  • If family is with the patient all the time, include some money in a card for them, for vending machines and cafeteria meals.  Better yet, include a gift card to a nice restaurant nearby for a change from hospital cuisine.

Do you have more ideas on how to be a good hospital visitor?

Have you ever been a patient?  Tell us what you loved and what left you a little underwhelmed…