How do I approach visiting someone in the hospital who is sharing a room with another patient?

Though a semi-private room is frequently seen as an inconvenience, we should recognize it as a great opportunity.  We must always be polite, respectful, and sensitive so that we do not disturb other patients when attempting to see those we have come to visit.  Nevertheless, always assume the attentiveness of the person in the “other bed” as we visit.  Whatever scriptures, prayers, kind words, truths of the gospel, and hopeful promises of God we share with those we have come to visit will be heard by the other patient in the room.   The power of the Holy Spirit can reveal the truth of the gospel to him in the same way it can to whom we are directly visiting and speaking.  As you leave use pastoral wisdom to discern whether God has provided an opportunity to minister to the other patient.

Posted in Hospital Visitation
5 comments on “How do I approach visiting someone in the hospital who is sharing a room with another patient?
  1. Adam Tisdale says:

    I have found this situation most often in nursing home and rehab facilities. I think you are right that we should assume attentiveness and should be open to the Holy Spirit’s guiding us to minister/pray for that person, as well. Even if our ministry is brief, we cannot fully know how the Lord may use it. Since, as a pastor, I have become accustomed to reading people (body language, facial expressions) when I am preaching, I have taken to do the same thing when visiting people who share a room. If I am able to read some receptivity, I will ask permission to pray for them. This also models ministry for our own people. I look forward to explore more of your blog. Thank you!

  2. Carl Erlandson says:

    The word sensitive is very overused in our churches and ministries today, but I think you did a masterful job of describing how it must be integrated with polite respect and our command to go and make disciples. We mustn’t quench the Holy Spirit on the alter of over sensitivity. But we must do as Christ would do and be careful not to disturb or to cause the other patient any undo stress by speaking loudly or offensively – we must model compassion. Yes, the gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive and foolish to many, but sometimes we can be offensive in just the way we speak or the words we use. We must, as you say, use pastoral, Godly wisdom to discern. We are presented with a very valuable opportunity and privilege, and we should be acutely aware of the Holy Spirit’s work and leading in how we relate to the other patient. Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom in these matters.

  3. Dan Lowe says:

    Thank you for your insightful post. As a hospice chaplain, I often find myself in a position to minister to the roommates of those I visit. In fact, on many occasions this has been some of the most effective ministry I have been blessed to take part in. As a rule of thumb, I always strive to be friendly with the roommates of those I am visiting. Typically I will introduce myself and explain that I am a pastor (although the Bible I always carry usually gives me away.) If there are specific needs, I do what I can to meet them (even if it is simply getting the nurse for them.) Sometimes I offer to pray for their roommates (particularly if they have engaged me in meaningful conversation during my visit.) As I visit with my patients, I am always aware that there “listening ears” in the room and make it a point (when appropriate) to speak and/or pray the gospel with the person I am visiting. These simple acts alone will often provide opportunities for deeper conversations and ministry.
    One final thought… if God is gracious enough to cause a relationship to begin with the roommate of someone you are visiting in the hospital… make sure you continue to visit even after your patient has been discharged. Otherwise… any concern you have shown them could very well be perceived as hypocritical…
    God bless!!!

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