How To Not Be Obnoxious During Hospital Visitation

Bad Visitor

Unfortunately, my mother’s health over the past month has granted me the opportunity to spend some extended hours in hospital waiting rooms and in hospital room makeshift beds. While I am pleased to report that my mother is doing so much better physically, the incessant beeping from various machines, the uncomfortable accommodations, and the lack of sleep have caused me to reevaluate my own hospital visitation practices and to therefore create the following hospital visitation tips that may help well meaning people from becoming unknowingly obnoxious during their visit.

5 Hospital Visitation Tips

  1. Don’t make the hospital visit about you. Some people are so uncomfortable when they visit, the patient or family feel as if they have to comfort them instead of the other way around.
  2. Pray. Unless absolutely prohibited in some way, pray with the patient. If you can’t because of hospital staff or family, then pray briefly for the patient as you are leaving the hospital. Some people say that the least they can do is pray. Honestly, it’s really the most.
  3. Observe door etiquette. If the door is closed when you arrive, close it when you leave. People who have lived in the country understand that if a gate is closed and you open it to go through, it’s considerate to close it behind you. If it is open when you arrive, leave it that way as you go through. The same is true of the hospital room door. Often, the patient or family has the door open or closed for a reason.
  4. Don’t talk about what you just had to eat. Many hospital patients are not able to consume liquid or solid foods or may be somewhere in between. Some patients may have been fasting in preparing for a procedure. Others are recovering from surgery and the sight, smell, or mention of certain foods make them nauseous. Unless they bring it up, don’t talk about food.
  5. Let sleeping patients lie. Because of constant interruptions, incessant machine noises, and routine checks from the RN, LVN, CNA, PT or (amazingly enough) the MD, It is incredibly hard to sleep in the hospital. Therefore, when visiting someone in the hospital who is asleep and who does not wake up when you enter the room, let them sleep. Instead, pray over them and ask God to help them rest and recover, and then consider leaving them a handwritten note or at least a business card.

Believe it or not, it is good for people to visit others when they are sick and believe it or not, most of them do appreciate your visit. However, using simple etiquette can help your visit be more beneficial than harmful.

If you can think of other tips, please comment below.


4 Things to Remember When Doing Hospital Visitation


I’ve been doing hospital visitation on a regular basis for over 20 years.  One thing that I’ve learned is that I’m not very good at it.  Even though I’m a pretty compassionate person, I struggle when trying to minister to those in the hospital.  Something in me clams up and I struggle with my words.

However, Jesus did say I was sick and you visited me, so it’s important to press on with the visit, even when I feel uncomfortable.

I spent most of the last three days with my mother who was hospitalized.  During that time, I pondered my own hospital visitation situation and realized that there are 4 things to remember when doing hospital visitation.

#1  –  Pray.  The Holy Spirit is a much better Comforter than any of us, so pray and let Him do His work.  Thank Him for who He is in front of the people who need to remember it the most.  If for some reason you can’t pray with the hospitalized or their family, pray by yourself for them and for you as you visit them.

#2 – Bring a small gift.  After visiting my mother for the first day, my wife suggested that we bring her the shampoo and conditioner samples from our hotel room.  We weren’t using them anyway and it allowed my mother to wash her hair with real shampoo.  Whether it’s shampoo, facial tissue, a magazine, or a drawn picture from a child, it could make a huge difference in their hospital stay.

#3 – Know when to leave.  Unless you’re family or considered part of the family (sometimes even then), don’t overstay your welcome.  Understand that while you’re trying to bring someone encouragement, you may be wearing them out.  People are in the hospital for a reason and you might be stealing their sleep time. 

#4 -Use discernment when using anointing oil – Some people don’t understand the symbolism.  To some, it just seems like you’re putting grease on their heads.  Your prayers are more important than the oil.

Remembering these 4 things will help me.  Maybe they’ll help you as well.

By the way, my mother’s doing great.