Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Friendly Advice for Hospital Visitors

When we get the opportunity to visit someone in hospital, we usually go with good intentions.  We want to let them know we are thinking of them, and want to bring some joy to their day.  When a patient in a hospital, it's nice to have a friendly visitor as it gives you something to look forward to. There are just a few things we need to be aware of these days when we decide to visit someone who is staying in a hospital.  Flowers can definitely brighten up a room and they also bring some nature into the patient's environment.  Flowers can cheer you up each time you look at them because you remember who gave them to you and the good wishes they bring.  The only problem is that flowers are not as welcomed in the hospital as they used to be.

Many people have developed a sensitivity to strong fragrances, and there are policies now in many public places that ban the use of perfumes, colognes and flowers.  Hospitals are places that the public often visits, and strong scents can inadvertently affect the staff, patients and other visitors.  Fragrances can cause stress and discomfort for those who have sensitivities and/or allergies. We all need to be sensitive to this so that we can provide a positive experience for everyone.

When you decide to visit someone in hospital, it's a good idea to call ahead to find out about their policy regarding bringing in flowers. Low fragrance flowers may be acceptable.  Some people may have allergies to the pollen, so flowers that don't shed may be recommended such as chrysanthemums or hydrangeas.  A small house plant may be more appropriate. Flowers have been known to help people in their recovery, by lowering stress and anxiety, reducing blood pressure and increasing feelings of optimism. Hopefully there is a way to get some sunshine into your loved one's room.

Flowers that are most fragrant include: lillies, lilacs, stocks, freesia, hyacinth, purple and yellow roses, gardenias, irises, lavendar and jasmine.

Flowers that are least fragrant include: tulips, roses (except purple and yellow), orchids, gerbera daisies, alstroemeria, chrysanthemums.

If you're not sure, and don't want to bring flowers, you can try some of these alternative gifts:

  • Photos of friends and family
  • Books/magazines/newspapers
  • Crossword puzzles/Sudoku/Word find (don't forget a pencil!)
  • Slippers or fuzzy socks
  • Robe/housecoat/long sleepshirt
  • Cookie bouquet/balloons
  • Toiletries
  • Radio
  • Personal blanket

Next time you visit someone in hospital, know that you are being very kind and thoughtful.  Just make sure you are considering everyone else, too!

Have a great day!

~ Angela Gentile

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