Supporting a Friend who is Staying in Hospital
Staying in hospital
Knowing that you are going into hospital can be daunting for the patient and worrying for their friends and relatives. Whether its the first operation or the tenth, whether its an hour or nine hours (some are) it is a nerve racking time.
A few days before
Prior to going into hospital (about 5 days before)washing with an anti microbial body wash can reduce the risk of infection and therefore aid recovery.
Getting to the hospital on time
Getting to the hospital, on time, in as stress free a way as possible is important. If you can offer a lift this will make a huge difference to your friend. For early morning appointments they will probably need to be at the hospital at around 7 o'clock in the morning. It might be a pain for you having to get up early but just think what your friend is facing!
If you can't offer a lift then offer to go to the hospital on the bus / train or in a taxi to help carry bags and keep your friend company. It will help your friend just to have some company.
Whatever method you are travelling by ensure you leave plenty of time to reach the hospital location on time without having to rush and make sure that your friend has not has anything to eat if they are having anaesthetic as outlined in the information they will have been given.
When you arrive
Once you arrive, make yourselves known to the nurses station on the ward your friend has been asked to attend.
Your friend will be shown to their bed and you can help settle them in. There will probably be a steady stream of doctors, nurses and anaesthetists coming to say hello, asking numerous questions and asking for paperwork to be signed. This can be quite a busy time but can also have long periods of waiting involved - especially once everyone has been to visit and your friend waits for their turn.
Keep positive and try to talk about other things than just the impending operation.
After the operation
Your friend may be drowsy, uncomfortable and possibly experiencing some pain. Let the professionals do their job and keep out of the way. Soon enough your friend will be more like their normal self.
On a ward, and even in a private room, it can be really noisy with lots of beeping machines and nurses wandering around. Earplugs are a must have item and Blinking Thinking would do as far as to say the number one item when staying overnight in hospital.
Due to the kind of operations experienced by people with cancer, particularly breast cancer, closed wound drains are often used (see separate information for more detail.) A closed wound drainage bag to cover the drains and help carry them around are another great item to equip your friend with.
The perfect package.
Anti microbial body wash, earplugs, closed wound drain bag cover, mini shampoo, mini conditioner, mini hand sanitizer.
Add on items - toothbrush, toothpaste and moisturiser