Planning a Valentine’s Day Visit to a Loved One

By Sophia Kroon

Valentine’s Day can be a popular day for visiting a loved one, and planning ahead can make for a more successful visit. Lyle Pepin, District Director of Case Management, recommends calling the Case Manager or nurse before you arrive to get an update on the patient’s condition and to see if there are any scheduled tests or therapies that might interrupt your visit.

 

 Family visits can raise spirits and help patients achieve their goals quickly. Family visits can raise spirits and help patients achieve their goals quickly.

 

“The Case Manager can explain your loved one’s progress and planned next steps. This gives visitors something to talk about during a visit,” he says.

Start with light conversation such as news about the family or a favorite sports team. Then, transition into a positive conversation about their status such as: I heard you walked down the hall on your own today and they’re going to take you outside next week.

“This helps reinforce what the patient is hearing from their treatment team and keeps the family involved in their progress,” says Pepin.

When discussing next steps, talk about immediate goals. Closer targets can seem more achievable and less overwhelming than what is forecast weeks into the future. And don’t shy away from difficult topics the patient may need to talk about. Keep an encouraging tone and ask for help from the Case Manager if you need it.

“Be sensitive to how much a patient can tolerate; conversation can be draining. If the patient is unresponsive, only say what you would if they were awake,” Pepin says. “Often just being there and holding their hand or watching TV is enough.”

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Visitors: check for restrictions about the number of people and/or ages allowed.
  • Food: ask if there are any dietary restrictions before bringing in a favorite food.
  • Movement: let the nurse know if you want to take the patient out of the room so they can provide any necessary assistance.
  • Pets: might be allowed but advance notice and planning are required due to health and safety restrictions.
  • Gifts: avoid flowers and items of value; comfort objects like a favorite pair of slippers or blanket are better.

Family visits can raise spirits and help patients achieve their goals quickly.