Visiting Someone in the Hospital

When someone you love is hospitalized it’s important to let them know that you are thinking of them, and a visit can do so much to boost their spirits.

This is just general information.  Hospitals have varying rules regarding visiting hours, who can visit, etc. 

Visiting hours

Most hospitals have times at which you can visit your friend or relative. The best advice is to check with the hospital for information about when you can visit. Bear in mind that different wards often have different visiting times and rules.

Hospitals encourage relatives and friends to visit patients. However, patients can get tired very quickly. For this reason, the number of visitors each patient is allowed is usually restricted and it might be necessary to stagger the visitors so they come at different times.

Children can be restricted from visiting a patient in the same way that adults are. In some wards, you need to ask permission for children to visit you, and some wards insist that children under 12 are accompanied by an adult.

Hand hygiene

When visiting someone in hospital, always clean your hands using soap and water or alcohol hand rubs. It’s very important to really scrub your hands well to prevent the spread of germs. Do this when you enter or leave a patient’s room or other areas of the hospital.  If you are concerned about the hand hygiene of doctors, nurses or anyone else who comes into contact with the patient you are visiting, it’s not improper to ask them whether they have cleaned their hands.


If you have a cough, cold, diarrhea, vomiting or think you may be getting sick stay home.

Presents for patients

Patients like to receive gifts while in hospital. Most hospitals encourage visitors to bring gifts, but it is important not to clutter the patient’s bed area. Check with the hospital staff before bringing someone a gift of flowers or food.


Many hospitals are no smoking zones. Please follow regulations regarding and only smoke in the designated outdoor areas.


Parking at hospitals is limited and can be expensive. Where possible, use public transportation when visiting someone in hospital.

What to do when visiting someone in hospital

  • Call ahead to make sure that the patient is up to a visit
  • Bring a gift – magazine, book, crossword puzzle, a card, etc.  If you want to bring food or flowers make sure that the patient isn’t on a restricted diet or allergic to the flowers.
  • Keep the visit short.
  • Give the patient privacy if a healthcare professional arrives
  • Turn off your cell phone.  Your loved one should feel as though they are more important than any call you could receive 

What not to do when visiting someone in hospital

  • It’s best not to sit on the patient’s bed as this can spread germs. Use the chairs provided.
  • Don’t put your feet on the patient’s bed.
  • Don’t touch the patient’s wounds or any medical equipment they are attached to, such as drips or catheters. This can cause infections.
  • Don’t use the patients’ toilets. Ask hospital staff where the nearest public toilets are.
  • Don’t share property, such as toiletries, tissues or items of hospital equipment with the patients.
  • Do anything to upset the patient – now is not the time for an argument or upsetting discussion



This entry was posted in Hand washing, Hospital visits, Hospitalization. Bookmark the permalink.

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