1. Bring snacks that the person likes, and if you don't know what they like, just bring snacks. UNLESS THEY MIGHT BE ON A FOOD RESTRICTION. One of the biggest annoyances for a CFer is that s/he is completely at the mercy of the hospital to decently feed her/him. -- and we're a HUNGRY people, made to eat mostly low-sodium low-fat food when we need high calorie high sodium!!!
2. Bring them a book to read. Then, don't hound them about whether or not they read it. The hospital is a busy place and sometimes a nap is better than a book. Other times, a book is a great distraction.
3. Don't stay long. I always wanted non-family visitors to stay for about an hour, and family/inner-circle type of people to stay for maybe 2.
4. Don't complain about anything related to the hospital i.e. parking, crowdedness, gross sightings. This can be just negative energy and make the patient feel bad that you came.
5. Don't show up earlier or later than discussed. Believe it or not, we have a tight schedule in the hospital and have most likely finagled something around your visit such as PT, neb treatments, or exercise.
6. Don't bring extra people. If your friend asked to see you, or you them, don't bring your kids, your husband, your friend from brunch.
7. DO NOT COME IF YOU ARE SICK, or if you've been sick in the past three days, or know you have been exposed to something.
8. Consider wearing a mask into the room (a must for post-txers). Let the patient offer if its okay to take it off. It's much harder for a patient to send you back in the hall than to tell you take a mask off.
9. Don't bring any substantial food without asking (soup, coffee, pizza, etc.) Your patient may be on a food restriction.
10. Show up, but not unexpectedly. If a patient can't be spoken to directly, ask a family member directly, "do you think he'd like a visit from me, or should I hold off?" Hopefully, you will get a direct answer. If you get a positive response, then you must must must show up. Now the patient is expecting you, as is the family.
11. In more serious situations, consider doing things to support the loved ones of the patient. Bring a cup of coffee to a mom, bring a sweatshirt or a change of clothes for a person who has stayed over night, etc.
OK that's 11 things. I have to sleep!!