In this video, Patrick Riecke, director, Chaplaincy and Volunteer Services, wraps up our series on navigating a loved one’s hospital stay, including tips for what you should always do to help them get through the experience. Here, he offers a series of gestures guests should try to avoid.
Seven things you should never do during a hospital visit
1. Never force prayer
If you are someone who likes to do so, you will be inclined to want to pray with the patient, and that’s great. But sometimes, that individual might be struggling with their faith, and forcing them to pray out loud could be difficult for them.
2. Don’t be afraid to cry
If something sad is happening, it’s OK to cry. We might want to stifle that emotion, but it can be very helpful and a great way to connect.
3. Never interrogate a person
It’s acceptable to ask about what’s going on medically, but try not to overwhelm the patient with questions about their situation. They might be feeling overwhelmed already.
4. Never question the person’s faith
The patient is likely already trying to maintain his/her faith as much as possible. Don’t question whether their level or devotion to their faith is adequate.
5. Never disparage the clinicians
If you speak poorly of the clinician, it introduces a dangerous dichotomy where the doctor and loved ones are on different sides. For the patient, everyone needs to be on the same side.
6. Never pretend to understand
While you might know someone who went through something similar, the patient is going through their own unique, difficult situation. You will never fully understand their experience. Pretending you’ve been there or completely understand can create distance.
7. Never pretend to know God’s plan
It’s hard to predict what a patient’s outcome will be. We can put our trust in God without assuming we know what God’s ultimately going to do.