Planning a Visit

Spending time with your loved ones...

When one of your loved one’s is sick or caring for a sick child you want to go and visit them and support them. Unfortunately, some well meaning visitors can cause unexpected stress on a family that has too much on their plate already. While it is not usually the visitors fault, but instead a matter of circumstance, here are some helpful tricks to make sure your next visit with a family is a good one.

Things to keep in mind for well wishing visitors...

  • Give a Head's Up!: When families must juggle appointments and unexpected hospital trips it can be hard to know when they are home. Always remember to call or text them before stopping by, even if it has been prearranged.

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  • Keep Things Light: Be sure to talk about things other than the child’s illness or injury. It is good to acknowledge it but it is on their minds all day – give them a refreshing break from it by talking about other things. ​​

  • Bring Things To Do: Dealing with an illness or injury can be mentally and physically draining for the whole family. Bringing something to do and just sit with them with them for a while without engaging can be a refreshing visit amid all the chaos. Read the child a book, watch tv, or just do your own separate activities in each-others company.

  • Appropriate Gifts: If you want to bring a child a gift, make sure to check with the parents to make sure it is appropriate for the child. Some illnesses can make a child less able to play with certain things, and some hospitals have restrictions on the types of things allowed with patients. Also keep in mind any siblings when you come baring gifts- with their brother/sister being sick they might be feeling left out of all the attention.

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  • Know when to Leave:  Visits can be exhausting for a sick child or a caregiver. They might think they need to put on a smile for guests and can quickly run out of energy. Make sure you consider if the people you are visiting would rather you stay and keep them company or if they prefer a short visit. And know that this can change- even if they normally prefer long chats and hours long visits there may be some days when they would prefer only being briefly checked in on.

  • DO NOT COME SICK!: If the child you are visiting has a compromised immune system or you are visiting a child staying in the hospital DO NOT visit if you are SICK. Visits are wonderful, but they shouldn’t put anyone in unnecessary risk. If you are feeling even slightly under the weather opt for a phone call and try again the following week.​

  • Give Them Space: Caregivers and families that are taking care of a child with an illness or an injury can be very overwhelmed, especially right after a diagnosis or new development in their child’s condition. Well-meaning friends and relatives need to be very mindful that they are not adding unnecessary stress to an already stressful situation. If they mention that now is not a god time for a visit don’t press the matter or feel bad that the family needs some time alone.

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