Role of a Support Person
The main role of a support person is to help their loved one heal through support, encouragement and communication during their stay at Strong Memorial Hospital. Because of the importance of a support person’s role, we believe they are critical members of a patient’s health care team. As a patient you may identify more than one support person but only of these individuals will be your primary support person. This person has 24-hour access to be with you and is the main contact for your providers, other than yourself. Your other support person(s) also have 24-hour access to you but are not a contact for your health care providers. In most cases, support person(s) are chosen because of the trust they have with a patient and his/her ability to fulfill the roles and responsibilities described below.
Visiting a Patient
If you are a support person, we encourage you to visit your patient as much as he/she requests your company. The following recommendations and explanations provide valuable information to make your visit smooth and comfortable:
While support person(s) may visit his/her loved one any time of day or night, please familiarize yourself with visiting hours and policies. You will find crucial information specific to support person(s) in regards to visiting hours and where to obtain a photo identification badge, which is necessary for accessing your loved one after normal visiting hours.
While a patient may identify more than one support person, typically only one support person may stay with a patient during the night. Please communicate plans and arrangements with the other support person(s).
A patient’s comfort and health care needs are the utmost top priority. Please ask your loved one what their preference is in regards to having visitors. Because healing is a process, your loved one’s preferences may change depending on how they feel so please ask them throughout his/her stay at Strong.
Communication with Health Care Providers
If you are designated as the primary support person, you are the primary contact with your loved one’s health care providers while he/she is in the hospital. The level of information providers share with you will have been previously determined by your patient. As the primary support person it is your role to then communicate appropriate information with others. To manage this process and to help remember any critical information we offer the following advice:
Before or at the beginning of the hospital stay, discuss with your loved one how much you should be involved in the updates with his/her hospital health care providers. Be sure to cover medications, advocacy, current condition and medical history.
Keep a pen and paper handy when you speak to medical professionals. Ask questions and take notes to share with your loved one. Don’t hesitate to ask them to re-explain a concept or to write something down for you. Pens and notepads are provided next to each patient bed.
If your loved one needs something or feels uncomfortable please bring it to the attention of the unit nurse.
As the day of discharge approaches, please take the time to review the Discharge Planning List. This list provides a series of questions that you can share with your loved to prepare for a smooth transition out of the hospital.
For more information about your support person(s) including considerations to make regarding your medical privacy please go to Your Health Care Team page and read the section on Your Support Person.