Hospital Visitation Guide for Church Elders
A well-planned hospital visit brings encouragement and blessing not only to the patient, but also the pastor, elder, deacon, or church member representing the congregation. At no other time in a person’s life do spiritual issues and church support become so important.
Hospital Visitation Tips for Elders and Deacons
- Be well dressed. You are representing God and the church.
- Observe hospital rules like parking and visiting hours.
- Cooperate with hospital staff. Make them a priority.
- Check-in at the nurse’s station before entering the room.
- Be cheerful and positive, not a joker. Be professional.
- Be a good listener, don’t dominate the conversation.
- Make your visit brief. Four or five minutes is long enough.
- If family members are present, don’t interrupt their time. Be polite and brief.
- Never visit a new mother when she is nursing her baby.
- Don’t discuss what you believe to be the cause of the illness.
- Do not criticize or analyze the doctor, nurses or treatment.
- Do not ask the patient for a medical explanation of their illness.
- Do not suggest medicines or refer them to other doctors or treatment.
- Don’t talk about your medical problems or experiences. You are there for them.
- Be sensitive to the spiritual needs of the patient.
- Always be positive, never negative. You are there to edify them.
- Read a short Bible verse such as Psalm 23, 27, 37, or 63.
- With Christians, talk about God’s love and faithfulness.
- With non-Christians, talk about salvation. Leave a gospel track or maybe a Bible.
- Mention your pastor. Tell them you will report back to your church about the visit.
- Let them know the church is praying for them and their family.
- Ask if they have a specific need the church can meet.
- Ask if they’d like to be anointed with oil.
- Pray with them. Make it brief and quiet. Do not be demonstrative.
- Leave something with the patient like a church information brochure. Be creative.
Hospital visitation is an important way to reach out to church members and the community. Your visit may be instrumental in empowering a family to face whatever happens.