Madison Avenue Baptist Church
Things to Do
· Maintain a non-anxious presence. Be calm and purposeful.
· Remember, often the biggest issue for a patient is LOSS OFCONTROL. Give them some.
· If possible, have a visiting schedule that you share with the medical staff.
· Find out all you can about the patient’s condition, sedation, energy level, and personal
hygiene requirements PRIOR to the visit.
· Observe ALL rules concerning exposure to hospital acquired illnesses, community acquired illnesses, gloves, masks and gowns, infection control, etc.
· Adjust your position so that the patient does not have to strain to see you.
· Touch, WHEN APPROPRIATE.
· Speak clearly. Don’t show agitation if the patient has difficulty understanding or hearing you, or you them.
· Offer to read scripture or sing hymns if it soothes the patient. Keep prayers short and to the point if the patient is tired.
· Share good news about your church community or family; leave the negative gossip
· Relinquish the pastoral role to the clergy if the patient prefers it.
· Talk soothingly to those in a coma and to those whom, for whatever reason, cannot respond.
Things to Avoid
· Burst into the room with a great deal of fussing about. Avoid confusion and too much
· Talk too loudly or get in the patient’s face, even if one of you is hard of hearing.
· Constantly wake up a patient just because you are there. Sleep is a medicine.
· Get in a doctor or nurses way while they are performing their duties.
· Second guess medical staff in front of the patient.
· Barrage the patient with your own problems, or their problems.
· Have too many people in the room. Rarely is it ‘the more the merrier’.
· Bring in any food that is not approved by medical staff.
· Bring children into the room who are frightened, then just ignore them.
· Take anything personally. Patients are often cranky or on medication that makes them act differently than normal.
· Expect a patient with a breathing apparatus on to keep responding verbally to you.
· Speak for the patient if they can speak for themselves.
· Deliver a ‘sermon’ that is neither requested nor initiated by the patient. Allow the sick or dying to approach the subject at their own pace. You don’t convert people; Jesus does, at His pleasure.
· Offer platitudes that have no basis in reality or Scripture.
· Visit if you hate hospitals or are just there to give the impression that you care. Patients can be very sensitive to people’s motives.
· Don’t be afraid to talk about EOL issues if it’s the elephant in the room. Patients are often better at it than the families, and need resolution.
· Stay on the phone the whole time you’re in the room. This happens more often than you think.
Ministering to those in the Hospital
Rev. Colin Munroe