When they say it takes a village to raise a child, the premise is that it takes a community to help look after and grow a person who is unable to do that for themselves. The same stands true for someone who is hospitalised. Do you know how to be part of that village? Do you know how to support that village when it also needs help?
Not everyone requires or wants, the same kind of care and attention. At Hospital Spoils, we’re exposed to what generally works and what doesn’t. Here are some pointers to get patients feeling like themselves again:
Be the patient’s activist
Hospital staff are often overworked, meaning they aren’t always going to be on hand to answer patient or visitor questions. Relieve the pressure on everyone and take a walk to the nurses’ station every now and then to see if you can get information that way.
Bring a bit of home to the hospital
Having a small item from home – a blanket, a picture, a trinket – helps to take the edge off in a stark and sterile hospital room. It also serves as a reminder of what is out there that the patient needs to be well for. Be sure to check with the hospital before packing, in case they have space or safety constraints.
Just because someone is in hospital, it doesn’t mean their real-life stops. It’s often the unglamorous jobs that people need the most help with. Pets need to be fed; children need looking after, lawns need mowing. See where you can help, and where you can get others to help too.
Caring for the caregiver
Looking after patients can be both physically and emotionally taxing. Remember to give them a break whenever you can. Relieve them of some bedside duties or run any errands they might find helpful.
Think about gifting carefully
While flowers are nice, they are often more of a hindrance than anything else. Consider gifts that will help keep the patient entertained, like books or music, or ones that will make them feel good about themselves, like a Hospital Spoils treatment.
A personal touch is essential
Touch has a host of scientifically proven benefits. Spoiling a patient with a massage, hair or nail treatment will go a long way in making them feel better, and more like themselves.
You don’t need to do all of the above; even one or two will make a marked difference in the life of a patient or their caregiver.