“I was sick and you visited me…Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it unto me.” (Matthew 25:36, 40)

Three Types of Hospital Visits

  • Comfort Care: When the patient is in for testing, observation, and/or post operation recovery.
     
  • Critical Care: When the patient is in because of emergency    and/or life threatening situation.
     
  • “End of Life” Care: When the patient has passed away and the focus of care is upon the family.

Pre-Visit Preparation   

  • Find out ahead of time where the patient is - their hospital, room number, wing, ward, floor, etc. 
     
  • Make sure visitation is permitted by the patient and/or family. If not, respect those wishes. 
     
  • Call before visiting to make sure the patient will be present and able to receive visitors (sometimes they are in therapy or in quarantine, etc.). First contact the room directly. If there is no response, contact the nurse’s station. 
     
  • If possible, try to visit with at least one other person (e.g. Grace Group Leader/Apprentice/Member). (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12; Matthew 18:1920) 
     
  • Bring a Bible to read scriptures from. Reading from the Book seems to communicate more comfort than reading from electronic devices. (Note: Pastors, bring business cards and I.D. for security and parking validation purposes.)
     
  • Communion: If person in hospital has not taken communion for a while, consider bringing communion elements to hospital.    Note: Ask the family or find out if person is Diabetic because the juice may spike their blood sugar. If diabetic, bring a    nonsugar grape juice substitute.

Comfort Care Visit

  • At doorway of room, softly announce yourself before entering (e.g. “Hello, [patient’s name], this is [your name] from Grace Bible Church Pearlside.”). Wait for them to acknowledge you. This allows the patient and family a moment to prepare before you enter. 
     
  • Be positive and optimistic. Wear a smile and warmly greet the patient and family members and friends that may be present as well. 
     
  • Be a good listener and let the patient talk. Take cues from the patient. If patient seems tired or in discomfort, abbreviate your    visit but still share scripture and pray. (Note: If patient is sleeping deeply and with present family’s permission, say a short prayer at the bedside.) 
     
  • Ask permission to read a scripture or two on healing. (Isaiah 53:45; 1 Peter 2:24)   
     
  • Ask permission to pray. If granted, pray for them for healing, comfort, peace, strength, and the covering of God’s power and presence. Pray also for God to guide the doctors, nurses, and specialists with wisdom and discernment. 
     
  • Keep the visit to no more than 15 minutes so the patient can rest.
     
  • If permissible, do follow-up visits.

Critical Care Visit

  • Urgency and speed of response will communicate care and concern. Call family, then go as soon as possible. 
     
  • Because of their critical condition, the patient will usually be in the Emergency Room or in the Intensive Care Unit - both require family and hospital staff permission to enter. At the security station or doorway, use the phone to call nurse’s station to identify yourself and the patient you are visiting. Enter when allowed.   
     
  • As in a Comfort Care visit, at the doorway of the room, softly announce yourself before entering. Then wait for family to acknowledge you.
     
  • Because of the seriousness of the situation, appropriate words and “bedside manner” are important. Communicating hope, strength, and trust in God are the goals of the visit.   
     
  • Ask permission to read a scripture or two on healing. (Isaiah 53:45; 1 Peter 2:24)  
     
  • Ask permission to pray. If granted, pray for them for healing, comfort, peace, strength, and the covering of God’s power and    presence. Pray also for God to guide the doctors, nurses, and    specialists with wisdom and discernment. •  
     
  • Keep the visit to no more than 15 minutes so the patient can rest. Be aware and sensitive that some family members may want to talk more with you, which may extend your visit.
     
  • “Stopping of Life Support” issues may arise during your visit.    The outcome will be dictated by the patient’s Advanced    Medical Directive or the family’s decision. Please remember    that your role is support and comfort. It is a decision that the    family must live with. (Note: At times, it may be a while before    the appropriate family members can arrive at the hospital to    make a decision. Use your discernment if they would want you    nearby. Otherwise, inform them you can return later.)   
     
  • When appropriate, exchange contact information with the      GBCP and/or family member who seems willing to keep you    informed on their status.

“End of Life” Care Visit  

  • Urgency is paramount here. Call the family and ask them where you should meet them. The deceased patient may be in their room, the ER, the ICU, or in the hospital’s chapel.   
     
  • Upon your arrival, express your condolences and concern. Because of the wide range of emotions the family may be experiencing, be very deliberate in your words and behavior to communicate love, comfort, and peace.   
     
  • Be prepared to spend extended time (approximately 1 hour) with the family. Most families would like a final prayer to be said over the deceased before the body is removed by medical staff. It may take time for other family members to arrive at the hospital for this time of a final goodbye, whether individually or corporately.  
     
  • After the prayer and/or before departing, offer the church’s help if the family needs pastoral assistance at the funeral.