When planning a home or hospital visit ensure you follow the following principles:
Phone ahead to ensure suitability of day/time of visit.
Consider duration of visit. If someone is quite poorly it takes a lot of energy to receive a visitor.
Also be considerate to any family members who may be visiting and allow them time alone with their family member. As a rough guide 20 minutes is appropriate.
Make gentle enquiries regarding the availability of family, friends or neighbours to provide ongoing care/support. Consider the persons own resilience and resources.
Most people just want some company. They want to feel loved and thought about. Be cautious of being over spiritual or offering lots of scriptures, a simple encouragement and your presence is enough.
Any prayer offered should be given with consent and direction from the person receiving care, ask “would you like me to pray/how would you like me to pray?”
Do not force conversation, but let it come naturally. Fight the need to fill up every bit of silence, do not be afraid of periods of quiet.
Do not forget about them the second they get better. Being sick gives you many different types of attention, it can be very lonely when it all goes away. Support and visits may need to be offered until the person has been able to reintegrate into church life.
Make sure you team leader knows when you are visiting, and email firstname.lastname@example.org after each visit with a brief summary, and any further action needed. Please keep emails short and factual – eg Visited John Smith today in Ward 4 Heartlands. John is recovering from a heart attack and should be released towards the end of the week. Family are very upset and are requesting further support from Youth team for his teenager daughter Janet.