1-18. FIRST VISITS TO HOSPITALIZED FAMILY MEMBERS
Some people find the first visit to a hospitalized family member (especially one
with a severe illness) to be extremely difficult. If a family member appears to be
especially nervous or uncomfortable about his first visit, there are things you might do to
help. But you must remember to use good judgment. If you sense that the family
member wants privacy, leave him alone. But if he appears to want help, and if you feel
you can be discreet, consider some of the following as possibilities.
a. Go into the patient's room with the family member for a few moments just to
get conversation started.
b. Demonstrate that it is okay to touch the patient by holding his hand or
touching his arm.
c. If the patient is unable to speak, consider providing him with pencil and paper
d. Consider allowing family members to perform small tasks to make them feel
less helpless and fearful (for example, combing the patient's hair, rubbing his back,
helping him with a meal).