How to be a Great Visitor

How to be a Great Visitor

For the comfort of your loved one and to respect the needs of all, please observe these guidelines:

  • Call the patient before visiting. You can reach the Greenville Health System operator at (864) 455-7000.
  • Let the patient determine the length of visits.
  • Limit numbers in the patient's room, and please be as quiet as possible in the hallways.
  • Use the restroom facilities in the waiting areas.
  • Patients may be sensitive to certain smells, so please do not wear perfume or cologne and limit food and beverages to designated areas.
  • Dress appropriately -­ shirts and shoes are required for everyone, including children.
  • Honor "No Visitors" signs on patient room doors.
  • Ask the patient or family members how you can best help them.

Visiting with children

A visiting child can be a great comfort to the patient, but if the visit isn't handled properly, it can be a stressful experience for both the patient and the child. We've identified some ways you can help make a child's visit to the hospital a positive experience.

  • Children are identified as age 14 or under.
  • Children younger than 3 are not allowed to visit unless the patient is an immediate family member or in a special situation.
  • Children may not visit after 9 p.m.
  • Children should visit with a purpose.
  • An adult other than the patient should accompany children at all times, and children should never be left unattended.
  • Behavior should be appropriate. Encourage calmness and quiet voices.
  • All children, regardless of age, should wear shoes and appropriate clothing.

Before the visit

Talk to the child about why the patient is in the hospital. Describe the patient's room, how the patient might look and act, the medical staff and any medical equipment. 

Make sure your child is healthy. If your child is sick or recovering from an illness, it may not be the best time to visit.

Ask the patient and nurse for the best time to visit. Consider the visit from your child's perspective and discuss any "scary" details before your visit.

Explain that patients are trying to rest and sleep. Encourage a quiet voice, and keep the child in the patient's room with the door closed.

During the visit

When you come into the room, stand or sit where the child and the patient can clearly see each other. Point out familiar objects in the room, such as cards, pictures, flowers or stuffed animals. Suggest age-appropriate ways the child can help the patient, such as sharing a story or stroking the patient's arm. Watch the patient and the child for cues that the visit has lasted long enough. Offer the child an opportunity to leave the room, but only in the care of an adult.

After the visit

Together, talk about what the child has just seen.

Emphasize positive experiences, such as a smile or the feeling that the child was helpful.

Be observant. Listen for questions and acknowledge the child's feelings.

Encourage drawing and writing to help the child express any emotions.

Visiting with pets

Visits by pets to seriously ill patients and in special circumstances may be arranged. However, only small dogs and cats are allowed. Please ask the nurse if you may bring the patient's pet for a visit.

If you can't visit

Visiting a patient in the hospital is not always the best way to offer comfort or support, and it's definitely not the only way. If you are unable to visit, or feel a visit would cause undue stress to the patient, please consider these alternatives:

  • Provide for the family's food needs by doing the grocery shopping, preparing and freezing meals or giving gift certificates to local restaurants.
  • Help with daily activities, such as making lunches and carpooling children, collecting mail and newspapers, cleaning house, caring for pets or running errands.
  • Consider other special needs you can help with, such as planning birthday parties, picking up relatives from the airport or offering a ride home from the hospital.
  • Send a greeting card.
     

Protecting the Health of Our Patients

Often our patients' bodies are less equipped to fight off common infections, so for their protection any visitor, child or adult, exhibiting symptoms of illness should not visit a patient in the hospital until those symptoms are gone.

• Runny nose
• Cough
• Sore throat
• Sneezing
• Rashes
• Fever greater than 100.4°
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Draining wounds

Children's immunizations should be current. Any child who has had a cold, the flu, chicken pox, measles or mumps within the past week may not visit.

All visitors must wear shoes and appropriate clothing.

Take an active role in caring for your friend or family member when he or she is a patient with us by cleansing your hands. Clean hands help prevent the spread of infection.

When to cleanse your hands

  • Before and after using the bathroom
  • Before and after touching the patient
  • Immediately after any contact with blood, other bodily fluids, non-intact skin or any potentially infectious source
  • After covering a cough or sneeze or after wiping your nose

The most effective way to cleanse your hands

Using soap and water

  • Wet hands and wrists with water.
  • Apply soap and work up a good lather.
  • Scrub your hands, fingers and forearms. Remember the fingernails!
  • Completely dry your hands with paper towels.
  • Use a paper towel to turn the faucet off.

Using waterless gel

  • Press the metal bar to dispense gel into your palm.
  • Rub your hands together until they're covered with gel.
  • Allow your hands to air-dry.
  • Adults should always wash children's hands