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How to Cope with a Hospital Stay


Staying in The Moment, Keeping Your Perspective

What are some smart practices for patients in care in a busy hospital setting? Take a look and try these next time you find yourself or a loved one admitted.

  • Your MANTRA should become – Nothing to do, Nowhere to go – during your stay.
  • Calm the self: stress makes you believe everything has to happen right now. Adopt the pace of nature. Be the still pond. The secret of patients is patience.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Stay positive: avoid going to the worst case scenario. Many things could happen.
  • Find new ways to think about the “problem”. Consider different perspectives.
  • Don’t ask for “What if’s?”. That only escalates fear…
    • Ask Adaptive Action questions >>
      • What do you know now that is new?
      • What difference will that make to my health?
      • So what does that mean? Don’t settle for complicated language.
      • So what do we understand now that we did not understand before?
      • Now what can we do next?
  • Participate fully in your healing
  • Ask for help
  • Get a hand massage and/or ask for a foot massage
  • Get some living plants to look at. Smell the roses.
  • Increase your capacity for self observation, concentration and not knowing.
    • What are your patterns?
    • What patterns do you want to augment for your health?
    • What patterns do you want to diminish to improve your health?
    • Experiment bit by bit.
  • Observe five objects near you.
  • Observe five sounds near you.
  • Use your sense of smell.
  • Do a periodic body scan to check all the parts of you.
  • Do diaphragmatic breathing. Slow intake, hold…. slow exhale.
  • Identify whatever stressor is bothering you.  Remember that this too shall pass
  • Step away and decompress. ( This cannot be said often enough)
  • Remain in the present moment. Do not get ahead of the situation. Many unexpected things could happen.
  • Identify things you are grateful for.
  • Find the humour in all things.
  • Use a worry item – distract yourself with a small stone in your hand, for instance
  • Try the Meditation Practices suggested
  • MEDITATION practice for a hospital stay
    • Slow down: Do not react to everything immediately
    • Close your eyes – think of a calm place
    • Stabilize- try being still, calm, becoming less reactive
    • Remember the best answers come to a relaxed mind
    • Empty your mind to make room for answers
    • Soften the hard or defensive areas in your body and heart.
      • Don’t let the world make you hard.
      • Don’t let pain make you hate.
      • Don’t let bitterness steal your sweetness.

Two other MEDITATION practices

    • Practice walking meditation
      • step in harmony with a slow breath count:
      • inhale one, two, three, count
      • exhale one two three four count
      • inhale…
    • Practice invisible, wise and selfless meditation: Tonglen:
      • Meditate on your breath – consider strong back, soft front as a posture
      • Practice compassion. Be aware of all suffering people
      • Visualize – Breathe in darkness — breathe out light, repeat…

Asking for Help

If you feel you are not being heard, not being treated fairly, not getting the care you need, if you need someone to advocate on your behalf – ask for an independent patient advocate. 

Posted in Patient Advocacy

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