Monday, February 16, 2009

Making A Hospital Visit


Hey Gang: I am working on a white paper for our church concerning how to minister in a hospital setting. I have put some things on paper (and even published it at church), but got to thinking since I know there is so much wisdom out there that I would like to make the work better. Any red flags you see, any omissions or any way you think you can improve the product, please let me know by commenting, or shooting me an email.
Thanks,
mrp



MAKING A HOSPITAL VISIT

Presence – So, it’s time to make a hospital call, huh? What will you say? What will you discuss? Time to chill-out…It’s not what you say –well it is if you say something dumb (but will cover that in a minute) – it’s that you cared enough to go…Believe it or not, just being with a person who is ill can really help and encourage…

Listen – What is good is that you need not do all the talking. In fact, if you practice listening, then you’ll go a long way in ministering to the person who is ill…

Opening Act – If the patient is a woman, always go to the nurses station and ask one of the attending nurses to go into the room before you and see if the patient will receive visitors…AND, no matter who the patient is, knock before you enter…

Opening Questions – A good way to begin is to ask: “How are you, today?” It’s not a good idea to ask the person, “What’s wrong with you?”, especially if the patient is a woman…(get it?)

Life-giving Attitudes – Practice the following attitudes:
  • Allow people to share their feelings and thoughts…
  • Don’t be afraid of tears…Allow people to cry…
  • Don’t be afraid of death…If someone acknowledges their anxiety about death, don’t offer pat answers and don’t say things like, “O, now, don’t talk that way.” To absorb a person’s pain and fear is to give them one of life’s greatest gifts…

Be Yourself – Don’t be religious, pious, our fake…Be natural, and allow the LORD to use your gifts and personality…Be sincere…

Be Compassionate – The word means, “to suffer with,” which means that you allow yourself to enter the world of pain and fear that is being a patient (no fun, huh?)…

Be Careful What You Say – Just because the person is asleep or very ill and seemingly unaware of your words doesn’t mean that they are…

Don’t Dispute – Folks who are ill sometimes attack. They may show anger with you, the church or God. There is no need to defend. Receive their hurt or anger with words such as, “I understand what you mean.” Also, there is no reason to enter into a deep theological discussion at this time…

Be Brief – Keep the visit to the point, 10 to 20 minutes tops.

Then Minister – Ask for permission to pray for them: “Could I pray for you?” If the answer is no (I’ve had this happen once), be kind and say, “That’s OK.” But if you are granted permission then ask, “How could I pray for you,” or, “How could I ask the LORD to bless you?” Then pray for them as requested. You may also want to read a scripture before you pray. A TEXT like Psalm 23 our Psalm 46 is appropriate. But always end the visit by offering prayer.