Chapter 3: The visit

Visiting rules

Visiting the hospital and seeing a loved one so sick an be a challenging, confusing and emotionally difficult experience for a child.

It helps children to know how they’re expected to behave when spending time with someone who is dying. Let them know what they can do, such as touch or talk to the person. Explain what they can’t do and why – especially if it’s something they’re used to doing, like jumping into a lap. Some children mistakenly think the person will die sooner if they do something wrong.

Let them know if:

  • The room needs to be quiet.
  • There’s equipment they shouldn’t touch.
  • They need to behave differently than usual when they are with the person who is ill.

Preparing children for expectations of their behaviour