Oct 192013

I cared for my mother for the last three years of her life. She was at home most of the time and moved to an inpatient facility for the last three weeks. My mom was a rather private person and anyone who knew her, knew that. That’s why I was absolutely astounded when it came to visits by friends, associates and especially family.

I remember growing up and going to see people in the hospital. There were specific days and times that anyone could visit and outside that forget about it. What changed? I’m not sure how to answer that question but I know one thing I had to find a way to get control of my front door!

It occurred to me that many visitors never thought about much of anything prior to visiting.

What’s to think about?

  • Calling ahead to see if it is a good time
  • Asking if the care giver or patient need anything
  • Is anyone already there? it can get crowded quickly
  • How many people are you bringing to visit?
  • Setting a time limit for the visit and sticking to it

Something else to think about is bringing children to visit. As wonderful and beautiful as they are, young children are busy and can add stress to an already stressful situation. My mom had eight grandchildren and relished every opportunity she could to see them. During the late stages of her illness, I had to limit these visits and eventually stop them.

It was also evident that many visitors ignored my mother during their visit. I administered many doses of medication and my mom would doze frequently. She was not always asleep. A family member or friend would drop by and begin asking questions about her condition, speaking as if she wasn’t in the room. I simply tired of telling everyone, “She can hear you” and let them ramble. We had a few good laughs around those visits.

I remember from my dog training days that it was essential to get control of the front door. This was the mindset when I decided to develop my rules for visitation: 

Do call ahead for a home, or hospital visit.  Why walk in on an unexpected bath or potty break, or just walk in unexpected

  1.  Upon arrival, check with the caregiver about time limits, you may not be as welcome as you think.
  2. Ask before bringing flowers, (allergies) unless you just want them for your house.
  3. Respect meal time, bath time, and family time don’t stare while I’m eating or bathing!
  4.  Don’t hang around if the doctor shows unless you brought your proof of insurance.
  5. Quietly exit the room if the nurse enters, needles, enemas, shall I go on?
  6.  Do direct questions about the patient to the patient if at all possible; hearsay is inadmissible in court.
  7. Remember medication does not render deafness.
  8. Leave your personal issues at the door; I have plenty to deal with.
  9. Bring a smile and a good joke, I need a good laugh.

Published by Essential-Caregiver.com with permission from the author who likes to remain anonymous.