3 Rules for Visiting Someone Who Is Ill

Visiting someone who is ill is usually a thoughtful gesture, but a visit can easily go awry if you break these etiquette rules. Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips to make sure your visit is considerate, smooth, and tactful. 

Richie Frieman,
May 11, 2015
Episode #340

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When someone becomes very ill—to the point that they are bedridden or immobile—most people try to visit their dear friend in the hospital or comfort of their home to cheer them up and wish them well. Some folks, however, have a hard time following the proper etiquette for that visit.

As a manners expert, I like to think I’ve seen and heard it all, but it still shocks me when people assume a person who is ill has all the time in the world. Like, “Eh, he’s not going anywhere today. I’ll grab some lunch before I swing by.” Or that they’re up for a surprise visitor at all. Sadly, these are a just a couple of rude examples, but trust me, there are many more improper ways to visit someone who is ill. With that, let’s get started with my top 3 quick and dirty tips.

Tip #1: Schedule Your Visit

Modern Manners Guy’s Facebook friend, Kelly, has been caring for her Uncle Stanley for the past few months. They’ve been best buds since she was a toddler, and as his final days approach, Kelly has been spending more time by his side, since his condition has made it impossible for him to leave his home. Along with helping him eat and walk to the restroom, she has also facilitated the scheduling of his visitors. And as more visitors have come over, she’s compiled quite the laundry list of their improper habits.

One of the main areas of frustration for her is when people simply stop by whenever, without calling ahead. You know, because what else could Stanley be doing at 11 a.m. on a Wednesday, right? Well, it turns out Uncle Stanley has many things going on, some of which require privacy, and this means he may not always be at their beck and call.

If you’ve ever witnessed someone who is ill, you know that their days are not spent just lounging around watching reruns of Law and Order. In fact, it’s mostly filled with people aiding with their medication, trips to the restroom, eating, and many other unfortunate side effects of being sick. All of which they’d prefer their visitors not bear witness to. So, when a visitor rudely “drops in” whenever it’s convenient for them, it can make for a very uneasy stay.


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