This seems to be the season for hospital stays. Recently it seems like every third friend or co-worker I talk to has a family member or friend on an extended hospital stay. Besides showing up for visits and bringing meals, none of them thought about doing anything extra to make the patients’ hospital stay more comfortable.
The visits and bringing meals are important, especially for an extended hospital stay that span several weeks. However, I did not realize how truly exhausting it is to stay in a hospital until after giving birth (and my two day hospital stay is nothing compare to others with a serious medical condition).
This post is a discussion on how to make a patients (or yours) hospital stay more comfortable.
Don’t overstay your visit in a hospital
During an extended hospital stay, the patient is poked and prodded all hours of the day. Then, there is the multiple check-ins, hospital meal service, and the cleaning staff. And the hospital room itself is never truly dark or quiet. It is not unusual for a patient to sleep no more than 1 or 2 hour stretch at a time. The lack of sleep itself can sometimes be just as draining as recovering from their illness.
When visiting, make sure to let the patient know that it is okay for them to drift in and out of sleep. During my hospital stay, I felt like I had to talk to my visitors. I love the company, but I would love the company more if they just sit quietly in the room. I don’t want to be alone. I find a quiet presence soothing in the sterile and unfamiliar hospital environment. And when I do feel like talking, I want a cheery and light conversation that does not involve deep thinking or strong emotions.
Make the sterile hospital room more familiar
In an extended hospital stay is it the small details that count. Even with two hospital gown on (one in the front and one in the back), the patient knows she is wearing a hospital gown. But with a comfortable robe on or available in the chair next to their hospital bed, she can pretend she is at home.
As a matter of fact, bring as much of the patient’s stuff as you are allow to the hospital. Sure, it makes packing it all up a hassle later on, but a comfortable patient means a speedier recovery and makes the extended hospital stay more tolerable.
You can de-sterile a hospital room by bringing:
- A framed picture of the family for the bedside table.
- Their own pillow and blanket for the bed.
- A small vase with one or two stems to dress up a meal (depending on the patient or roommate, a big bouquet might make their hospital stay more miserable by triggering their allergies).
- Their comfortable robe and warm soft slippers.
Make the hospital room more conductive to sleep
A hospital is its own small city. And like any city, there is always noise 24/7 and lights are always on in the hallways. For an extended hospital stay, the best gift you can give yourself or love one is a good night of sleep. Sleep not only speeds the recovery process, it also improves your mood.
You can improve your quality of sleep in an overnight hospital stay by:
- Using a sleep mask and ear plugs.
This is a life saver for me while I was in the hospital. The hospital room was not dark. There was the hallway light coming in from the bottom of the door. There was the dim light the nurses leaves on in the room. It was difficult to sleep with all these lights!
- Use aromatherapy to promotes sleep, like a lavender mist that you can spray on their pillow.
- A white noise machine if there is no roommate.
If there is monitoring equipment in the room, the white noise machine would help drown out the clicks and whirls from these monitors.
Make sure the patient have something to entertain herself
With the available technological toys these days, there no reason to be bore during a hospital stay.
With free wireless service available in most hospital, you can entertain yourself with an ipad, a laptop, or even a Kindle (there are tons of free Kindle books available).
If a patient cannot handle holding something, you can download audio books or podcasts into a mp3 player.
Whatever you do, do not let the patient touch hospital magazines or books often available in the waiting rooms. How do you think germs are transferred?
Until next time and thanks for reading Small Steps to Health. If you like what you are reading, please share it with your friends!
- How to Reduce Your Medical Bills
- Getting Health Care Without Health Insurance
- Medical Bill Mistakes: How Much It Could Have Cost Me
- Are Generic Drugs As Effective and Safe as Brand Name Drugs?
- How to Reduce the Cost of Prescription Drugs
- Reduced or Free Maintenance Medication for Chronic Health Conditions
Like what you are reading? How about subscribing? It's free!