When you’re visiting a sick friend or relative in hospital, one of your first thoughtsis to bring a gift. Whether it’s flowers or balloons, you want to get a gift to make them feel better and show that you care. What most people don’t know, however, is that some items are in fact banned in hospitals.
Hospitals argue that gifts such as flowers are a health risk as harmful bacteria can grow in the water. If the water is spilled, it can spread viruses and germs amongst patients.
What gifts are banned?
According to the experts at House Call Doctor, there are many items that hospital staff advise against giving to patients.
- Flowers:it’s recommended you don’t give fresh and dried flowers and plants to patients who have vulnerable immune systems or to those who are allergic to pollen.Flowers are the main source of allergens and nurses have the potential to get the pollen stuck on their clothes and then transfer it to other patients in hospital. Asking for vases also takes up the staff’s time. For those who are in hospital for only a short time, it could be more beneficial to give the flowers to them once they have returned home.
- Balloons: most balloons use latex, which numerous people are allergic to. The strings can also get tangled and caught, posing a hazard.
- Stuffed animals: stuffed animals have also been warned against, especially if they have eyes, beads or buttons that young children can pull off and swallow.
- Food:like many others on this list, food can also be hazardous for people with allergies. Food should be approved by a nurse before it is brought to a loved one at the hospital.
Most mobile phones are also banned from Intensive Care Units as they can interfere with medical equipment and have ten times more bacteria than toilet seats.
Before you bring a gift for a loved one, make sure that you look at the hospital’s policy on what patients can have in their rooms and if in doubt, ask a nearby nurse or hospital staffer.