Visiting the Sick

Visiting the ill is a great opportunity for personal growth. Matthew 25:34-36 says, “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ (NKJ)

You may have wanted to visit the sick but may feel uncomfortable. When one does something new, feeling nervous and apprehensive is common as when we start a new job. You may want to go with someone else the first time or take someone with you, or just remember you are doing so because you care.

It is good to have a basic knowledge of their illness. You may want to visit late morning after their bath time or mid-afternoon after the noon meal. Early evening can be a good time to visit. When you visit, look around the room and take into account the immediate situation, are they asleep or maybe in noticeable pain. You may want to ask if it is a good time to visit. It may be time for tests, etc. their speech may be impaired. Determine who else is in the room, how many previous visitors there have been. If there are others in the room, remember to focus on your goal, to comfort the patient. Let the patient set the conversation agenda. Do not think that you must talk. Be a good listener. If the doctor comes into the room or other caregivers, excuse yourself and leave the room. When you begin the conversation, sit down facing the patient so they can see you without moving their body. Do not offer advice or relate to the condition of others; you cannot understand how they feel. Do not tell them you know how they feel; you cannot know even if you have had a similar illness. You may want to offer to help the family so they can spend their time doing things they have not had time to do.

I recall the times a brother or sister brought my brother a piece of pie or cake and how much it meant to him in the nursing home. Small things can make a person’s day. When one goes with love in their heart seeking only to comfort another, you will find your own comfort. If wanted, reading scripture can help encourage the sick. A hug may be appropriate at times. I have found that a prayer, not only for them but also for their family, means a lot to the person. Bring cheer. You came to encourage, reach your goal. Proverbs 17:22 (ESV) says, “A joyful heart is good medicine.”