“Your Hospital Guide” Part 4 (of 5) of Chapter 1 (Always Have Someone with You in the Hospital)

My hospital has specific visiting hours.  Won’t the nurses kick my Hospital Buddy out?

What about visiting hours?  In general, most nurses are lenient about allowing people to stay beyond designated visiting hours, provided visitors are quiet and considerate of roommates.  With resistant hospital personnel, your best bet is generally a calm, well described explanation of how your/your Hospital Buddy’s presence is actually assisting the nursing staff (help with keeping the person comfortable, assistance with getting to the bathroom, bringing a person water, general psychological support, help remembering details when communicating with doctors, etc.).  Getting permission from your doctor is also extremely helpful, as it can help avoid objections from a later shift of hospital staff who might not be familiar with your Hospital Buddy system.

It is much simpler to have a companion stay overnight when there are private patient rooms.  In a private room, there is generally more space for a convertible chair or a cot.  When there is a roommate in the picture, there can occasionally be resistance from a roommate’s family or from nursing staff to overnight Hospital Buddies, and this is best dealt with ahead of time, with permission from your attending physician.  Make sure you address the hospital staff’s concerns (e.g. you will keep noise levels low, you will respect a roommate’s privacy, you will keep the cot/sleeping chair as out-of-the-way as possible), be as polite as possible to the hospital staff, and remember to thank them for accommodating your request.

Why is it even an issue to have someone stay overnight?  And why are there ever limits on visiting hours?

When you understand the objections to overnight visitors, and the reasoning behind visiting restrictions in general, you can easily address any concerns, and are much more likely to obtain the permission that you require.

The short answer to why you need to argue for overnight stay permission is that the hospital is trying to ensure a restful environment for all its patients, and visiting hours tend to be noisier than other times.  However, it is more complicated than that.  The information in the later chapters of this guide (in the section describing “The Places,” which is currently slated to be Section 4, but that could change) will help you to understand many of the factors that play into how a hospital functions, and you will be able to use this knowledge to advocate effectively.


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